Game Wrap-ups

Trouba nets three points, Rangers win wild opener

The NY Rangers defeat the Winnipeg Jets 6-4 in the season opener

They may win, but we may die. That is the mantra of this year’s Rangers club, and boy did that hold true last night. The Rangers eventually downed the Jets by a score of 6-4, but not before blowing a pair of one goal leads within 30 seconds of taking those leads in the second period.

Jacob Trouba finished his Rangers debut –against his old team– with a goal and two assists, something that greatly benefited my fantasy hockey team (thank you to the BSB and Banter crew that let me keep him in our league after taking him in the 17th round last year). The Breadman notched a goal, which was big considering if he didn’t, there would have been endless “is he really good?” questions. Henrik Lundqvist looked solid in net, although he did let in one soft goal. The soft goal aside, he made several big and difficult saves and helped ensure a Rangers win.

Rangers 1, Jets 0

This was a great sequence by Marc Staal. He first read that he had no options, so he dropped the puck to Mika Zibanejad while cutting down the boards. Zibanejad read the play and completed the give-and-go with Staal, who cut around the net with speed. Connor Hellebuyck did his best Martin Brodeur impression and Staal scored the first Rangers goal of the year.

Rangers 1, Jets 1

For every pretty goal the Rangers have, expect one like this. Brady Skjei coughed up the puck behind the net, and then no one picked up Mark Schiefele in front. Expect this to happen a lot this season.

Rangers 2, Jets 1

Of course it’s Artemi Panarin that gets the first powerplay goal of the year for the Rangers. Hellebuyck left a big rebound after Zibanejad’s shot, and Panarin just collected it and roofed it. He’s quite good.

Rangers 2, Jets 2

Not much to say here other than Blake Wheeler burned Staal to get himself in position for that feed from Nikolaj Ehlers. Wheeler has wheels, apparently.

Rangers 3, Jets 2

What a howitzer from Jacob Trouba, going bar down with the knuckle puck. Good reads by him at the point to find the seam and let ‘ir rip.

Rangers 3, Jets 3

Ideally Hank makes this save. Considering the number of tough chances he stopped throughout, you overlook the soft one. But make no mistake, this is a bit soft.

Jets 4, Rangers 3

Kyle Connor got the deflection all alone in front. Make no mistake, this defensive system –where the guy in front is left alone– is by design. It’s called fronting, and it is a request of Hank. It’s been in place since Alain Vigneault, and it isn’t going anywhere. It’s also why the defense looks better with backups in net. Connor is alone in front because of this.

Rangers 4, Jets 4

Trouba with a perfect pass to Zibanejad, who found the seam in the defense.

Rangers 5, Jets 4

Brett Howden lost Adam Lowry in front while Ville Heinola drifted from the slot. With Neal Pionk preoccupied in front, Howden was free to bang home the rebound.

Rangers 6, Jets 4

Brendan Smith empty netter.

Shot Heatmap

As expected, the Rangers were absolutely caved in by the Jets from a shot attempt perspective. The Blueshirts are built on quality offensively while giving up quantity on defense.

Expected Goals

Something new! Natural Stat Trick added their Expected goals chart, which tracks quality and quantity into a game flow. As was expected before the game and shouldn’t be a surprise after the game, the Rangers were caved in defensively. Even based on raw SOG, Hank faced 47 to Hellebuyck’s 31. This is what we should expect going forward.

The Rangers took two points in typical “we may win but our fans may die” fashion. A win is a win is a win. And I’ll take it, as will you. On to the next one, where we hopefully see a defensive improvement. If the Rangers clamp down defensively, this offense can do some serious damage.

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  • Beasts: Zib, Panarin, Trouba.

    Wow: Kakko, first game, looked like a vet.

    Good but could have been better: Buch, DeAngelo

    Atrocious: Skjei, who was killing Trouba’s great game, and Staal, who obviously felt bad about scoring a goal because he helped the jets get it back, and then some.

    Hank was generally great, but that 3rd goal, yikes, that has to be a save.

    The rest were ok. Strome did zero for Kakko and Kreider, who other than a couple of bursts, looked like he was saving himself for his next team. So putting Chytil there instead is a bad idea? I think not. After the first line, there were some good shifts but not enough of them, as the Jets seemed to have the puck all night. I partly blame the lineup for that.

    Staal continues to show why he should not be on the ice, but the Rangers will justify his spot somehow. Ridiculous.

    I have defended Skjei for a long time, but he was absolutely brutal last night. Making Trouba look a little worse than what Jacob actually was, and that was great. On both sides of the ice.

    Krav and Chytil can’t get here soon enough, IMO, to even out the line up a lot better than last night. Lemieux’s contribution to last night was an idiotic penalty. Thanks.

    • Agree Richter…..This is going to be the norm this year…lots of offense and shaky defense. I do expect Georgiev……spellcheck…….to play bunch of games this year…..Hank at his advancing age would not be able to play the majority of games trying to stop 40-50 shots a night……Brady S. is soft and afraid of taking a hit to make a play….when he has room he looks great…but when crowded, he reminds me of a nervous rookie……this was only the first game of the season, but Brady can’t be any worse…..Hajek looked nervous as well…..improvement expected on D……..I would assume that Rykov and Lindgren will get a look at some point this season.

      • I want Brady to pay well so badly and I have defended him, but it gets to the point it’s like the Rangers defending Staal to play him regularly.

        So, Brady has to show me that he belongs on the 1st pair. Because right now he’s not even close.

    • After a terrific pre-season and all the DQ accolades, Anderson was saddled on the 4th line with less than 9 minutes of playing time (including PK). I saw Strome and Howden out there on the PK which puzzles me. When is this kid going to get a break from this coach?

      • I have to agree again Richter….Anderson is being blocked by two players that should not be here and I will blame Gorton for that. I am a Gorton supporter, but let the kids play…..

      • I don’t know why my reply to you did not go through, but anyway, Lias should be the 3C.

        I want to like Quinn but he’s starting to act like AV all over again. I heard that Staal and Trouba are now the top pair. Laughable.

        Howden and Strome are incorrectly pets of the coach, which disrupts the rest of the lineup. Strome did nothing for his linemates last night, except for take 2 bad penalties.

    • Those with the thumbs down, you obviously did not see the game or you did not understand what you were seeing.

      45+ shots on goal does not equal a superior effort, in general.

      • Hilarious that people are calling out Hank for that effort. 43 saves. 915. Positive GSAA. Huge stops with the game on the line. Outshot and outchanced by a wide margin and the soft goal gets all the buzz (not from you, but from way too many β€œfans”). The goal was soft, the result of a bad read and probably first game rust. But the effort and overall play was not. I am concerned about the defense yet again, but boy that first line is electric!

        • Rangers fans are fickle…but believe me..not too many fans are calling out Hank…Was the 3rd goal stoppable? Absolutely, but listen to what Valiquette stated as the play unfolded…

    • On that subject – Shatty is Tampa’s #1 RD with Hedman. Bolts have 3 strong LD but is a bit weak on the right.

      He scored a goal, looked good on PP, and got exposed several times on D – one leading to a goal.

      Typical Shatty night.

      I am rooting for him – but even with all the talent the Lightning have I don’t know if they can cover his deficiencies on D.

  • Maybe I can understand, a little, why Chytil is in Hartford but for the love of heaven why is Namesnitkov not centering that second line! He was much more visibly engaged than Strome and has at least twice the hockey IQ! I’d rather see McKegg in there.

    • I’ve been saying this too. Not that vlad is great but he is more of a distributor and has played with top players before. I think they like him in a defensive role vs stome but I don’t think they can wait too much longer. Or put lias there for a whirl.

      • I’m not saying I have loved Vlad as a ranger, but the front office has fetish of trying to force these square peg rookie centers into top nine round holes is perplexing to me anyway. But I gather there are plenty of people who see these guys as legitimate 2C or 3C right now.

    • Yes. Chytil in Hartford is defensible. Strome as a second liner really isn’t. Nor is Howden centering the 3rd line in lieu of Lias. The coach seems to be gravitating and allowing longer leashes to preconceived favorites. Let’s hope adjustments are in the cards, as that second line can be excellent with a solid two way player like Names.

  • This team has warts, but even with them, it’s an exciting group of guys to watch. Nice win, even if my blood pressure went thru the roof. LGR!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Before we blast the bad Ranger defense after one game, remember, First of all,the Jets are one of the top 3 offensive teams in the NHL. Second, Hank made some great saves as a good goalie is required and supposed to do so any team can win. Third, there are three new young defense-men getting adjusted. All that considered, our defense held their own against a very potent offensive team, and we WON!

  • We have two rookies on defense plus a player (DeAngelo) who just really found his game last season. Also, very importantly, the blue liners are NOT the only players who impact defense, and we have young forwards out there too. So, yeah, they gave up a bunch of goals last night to a very talented offensive team, but through talent and good play, managed to score more than the Jets.

  • The defense is a work in progress. 2 rookies will get better as the season moves forward. I would love to see Lindgren in the lineup. The kid was robbed out of a spot that he clearly deserved. He is an old school defender who is also a good skater and plays with and edge. They need to find a place for him. Perhaps Staal takes a month or 5 off?

  • Still not convinced by Strome. I think 2nd line center is too much for him to bear — would rather see guys like Names, Howden or Andersson get a crack at that spot. Put Strome on the wing, I think he plays better there.

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