Game Wrap-ups

Islanders blank Rangers in 2021 season opener

As Bad of An Opening Night As One Could Imagine...

It’s been a minute since we last saw New York Rangers hockey. Like many of you, it was tough to not be able to watch our favorite hockey team we’ve grown accustomed to seeing in the early days of September/October. Despite a bad showing in the 2021 season opener, overall the excitement for the Rangers going into a season hasn’t been this raw for me since the 2013 season when the Rangers acquired Rick Nash.

Obviously, this is for much different circumstances with a 1st overall pick and highly-touted defenseman, but it’s raw excitement all the same.  There are still many questions and obstacles regarding some of the personnel on this team. It was evident in this blowout loss. But we will have answers soon enough. Let’s break this game down shall we?

An empty Madison Square Garden is absolutely weird to see while a hockey game is going, but this is the way it goes.

In typical New York Rangers fashion, we have two quick goals by the Islanders before we’re even five minutes into the game. Great puck movement on the Islanders power play led to the first one for Brock Nelson. The second one from Anders Lee came from a 2 on 1. There are going to be adjustments because of no pre-season for sure, but that is not the kind of start you want. The Islanders had the same lack of a preseason and came out fine. This rust and adjustment was evident in that first five minutes and on the Rangers first power play chance.

One thing is abundantly clear though and we aren’t even a period into the season, Jack Johnson is the worst player on this team by a long shot. He took the first penalty on his first shift which eventually led to a goal. Johnson was wildly out of position on Mat Barzal’s goal too. This made DeAngelo take his spot and get absolutely walked at the blue line before Barzal snapped it past Shesterkin. Down 3-0 after the first period is no way to start a game.

More of the same in the 2nd period. Even though the Rangers were putting some good shots on goal against Varlomov, he was up to the task. Igor Shesterkin on the other hand let in a few bad goals, and two others he was left out to dry. Sounds familiar huh? I’m curious if Quinn is going to go back to Igor on Saturday for the rematch, or if he will change it up and go with Georgiev. Quinn did not hesitate to throw the lines and pairings into a blender to try to spark something. It’s was go to the previous two seasons, but to no avail. If it were up to me you put Igor back in there to get game rhythm going and let Georgiev play New Jersey on Tuesday. But we will see what happens!

In the third, the Rangers just could not get anything going offensively. By the end of the game, the Islanders had gotten 8 power plays from some benefit from the officials. But this was mostly from the Rangers just making bone headed plays. One was a double minor from DeAngelo, including unsportsmanlike after the initial call. When you are in a shortened season like this –and much like the one in 2013– you need to turn the page and get your game straight almost immediately.  The penalty kill and the power play got some reps tonight, but will need to be polished if the Rangers have any aspirations for legitimate playoff contention this season.

Other than that, Lafreniere looked pretty good. He had some decent scoring chances in every period. His best one unfortunately resulted in a fanned shot about 10 feet out from the net. He was engaged, he forechecked, made some good outlet passes, this will be a fun player to watch this year.

K’Andre Miller on the other hand didn’t stand out like I hoped he would. Miller wasn’t bad by any means, but he also didn’t do anything super amazing. He is a 20 year old defensive rookie, so it is understandable. He is learning how to cut angles of NHL talent and use his body and skills to deny entries and bump guys off the puck on a consistent basis. It did not show consistently tonight. I have no doubts he will figure it out, this is one game.

That’ll do it for this one, just too sloppy of a game to keep going. The 2021 season opener for the Rangers is best forgotten. Revenge tour incoming Saturday fingers crossed!

Follow me on twitter @TylerRichard93

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  • LOL, same as it ever was.

    First off, even bad Ranger hockey is better than no hockey!!

    Now the bad:

    Come out flat.
    Give up 2 quick goals.
    EIGHT shorthanded situations.
    ANOTHER too many men.
    Jack Johnson TWENTY PLUS MINUTES. Let that sink in for a moment.
    Outplayed, out coached, out everything.
    The answer to everything bad is to shuffle the cards and hope for the best.

    I’ll say it again, the ingredients are right, the chef is wrong.

    Once again, a team with a real NHL coach exposes the Rangers, who do not have a real NHL coach. Quinn never has any answers. No adjustments, other than to move players around, in game. Anyone can do that.

    But hey, another lottery pick is the worst case scenario. And if Martin is the back up plan, after what we saw last night, then nothing will change.

    Much different players, same result. What’s the common denominator?

      • It’s not even that they lost, or the Isles are a better team, it was embarrassing. Even Sam and Joe were horrified.

    • Tony- my Thoughts here:

      1. This team is going to be worse than last years. Being it is only one-game but excluding the lack of a full training camp and a few pre-season games, this lineup is way too young, with no protectors. Jack Johnson is much worse than Staal was the last few season as a Ranger. Staal would give you something on the PK ,and could still make a few plays a game with his stick. Johnson is one of the worse blueline players in the NHL hands-down
      2. Jeff Gorton and JD plan here: 1. Unless their long-term plan is too have another rebuild season with their buyout amounts at 12 mil plus I believe this season, and the Cap not going up, I truly do not understand why Gorton could not give the same contract the Blue Jackets gave to Mikko Koivu to play the 2C. Mikko can still play a solid defensive fore-checking game as a center and to mentor Kappo and the other young wingers would have been nothing than a benefit to their grow this year.
      a. In addition, Jasper Fast was allowed to just walk for a reasonable contract that was short-term. Fast was the Rangers best defensive forward, Quinn could have started Fast on a 4th line and move him up to the 2nd line as needed this season, as well as Fast being a bridge until the younger player gained more experience.
      3. The Rangers with this current lineup have to face the Islanders 7-more times, The Capitals- 8 times, Boston- 8 times, Crosby and the Pens, Take a look at the Caps lineup- Wilson, Chara, Ovi, Dillion- they’re going to just physically dominate this club, Boston already is laying players out, see the first game against NJ, The Canes are deep throughout their lines they roll out every shift
      4. Is Julien Gauthier a player in the future for this club? He drove to the net on a few shifts but I do not see Gauthier as a finisher?
      5. Coach Quinn- I know Quinn is a good teacher for young hockey players but what is doing by means of what fore-checking system is he and his staff deploying. It is a mess in my opinion and you can bet on at least two- per game , “too many men on the ice” calls a game. Players seem to not truly know what exactly their role is. See Coach Trotz- he is always consistent and players know their roles and how to play within that system, it never changed in Nashville and presently with the Islanders, equals deep playoff runs every year for Trotz coached teams.
      6. Cut Johnson ASAP and sign Ben Hutton.

      • Bro, I will say to you something that I have said for a year now.

        Get ready, because here it is: You can get whomever you want, personnel wise, but as long as Quinn is the coach, it will not matter.

        And when the Ranger goalie, no matter whomever it is that night, does not stand on his head, then you have last night.

        Wash, rinse, cycle, repeat.

  • Too easy to take the easy path and pile on Johnson. 1st penaltie was a terrible call. Worse was DeAngelos hissy fit when he was whistled for a legit holding call. Down 4-0 to start period, and immediately puts team down a man for 4 minutes. Back to Johnson… he wasn’t out of position. It was bad luck that linesman got in way of dump in on Barzal goal. Wasn’t like he gave up a 2 on 1. DeAngelo was there and got beat as usual. Stop looking to blame JJ for everything. My biggest takeaway is our complete lack of center depth. Strome and Chytil are doing nothing to complement our skilled wingers. I don’t understand what everyone sees in Chytil. JD and Gorton need to make serious pitch for PLD!

    • Chytil’s ceiling in my opinion is nothing more than a 3 or 4 Center man player in the NHL. I’m not sure if he is going to be a solid defensive fore checking centerman you need, especially come playoff time when you must be able to force turnovers and force players to the outside of the slot areas and battle in the corners.

      I do not see this, Jeff Gorton has had some trade discussions with MTL, possibly in regard to Danault. However, Marc Bergevin (GM) has much pressure on him from ownership to make the playoffs and make a run or his job. He is going to lose Danault next season when he is a UFA but it appears he cannot move him being he needs his 1C right now. Danault or PLD should be the future centers Gorton must make that Rick Nash type of deal. There is a lack of center depth in this organization right now, They drafted three this season and the highest ceiling center prospect the Rangers might have is Karl Henriksson or Oliver Tarnstrom?

  • Also, Quinn should’ve challenged 1st goal. Isle clearly in crease preventing Shesty from getting across.

  • The biggest theme to me in general is they just weren’t ready. Period! And it felt more like the bubble team than the team that played well towards the end of last season. I haven’t been one to pile onto the coach, but he needs to find a way to get this group going. And can we please sit Johnson for Smith?

  • Clear distinction on overall team quality and coach quality on display. Isles are a much better team and we looked unprepared. That falls on the shoulders of DQ. That said, the Isles have a veteran team, much easier to manage. NYR full of kids – kind of like a zoom call for first graders.

    • I agree- Rangers seem to really need another veteran player on this roster, Albeit might have his best days behind him but will provide some sort of protection on the ice for the young players ( Protection meaning not fighting, but directing the young players on real-time on the ice and on the bench. I was not on board at first with signing Boyle, However, it could not hurt. Bring in Boyle and Ben Hutton to play LD and give Jack Johnson his walking papers- my goodness he must be the worse blueline player on a Rangers team since the days of Dale Purinton

  • Team wasn’t ready to play. That’s on the coaches, especially after the bubble fiasco.

    Coach needs to do a much better job matching lines. Chytil & Laff’s fist shift was against Barzal, at home no less! Not acceptable. This is the youngest team in the NHL and the coach needs to protect them in their match-ups.

  • I said it yesterday JJ should not even be the 7th D, 8th,9th or 10th is more like it. 2 minutes in what happens (penalty! JJ holding the stick) sets the tone for the game.
    Let’s face it he is the worst, but we were not ready to play anyway!
    DQ can’t let Martin influence his thinking that JJ can play.
    Miller looked overwhelmed at times, and Trouba big time disappointment.
    Gauthier played well.
    The best line was the 4th line when they had a chance to play.

    • Gauthier did play well, but he never does the only thing that he can do, in the NHL, score a goal.

      An trust me, I want him to succeed.

  • A complete sh*t show. If I wasn’t so desperate for Ranger hockey I would’ve switched it off after the beginning of the second period. Instead, I endured the pain.
    Entire team and coaching staff get a big fat F for that “effort”.

    The only good news is they can only get better…right? Please tell me yes. LOL

  • Totally flat an unprepared. Very disappointing and that is on DQ. They are young and had new players in the lineup unlike the Islanders who have had the same team for years. That’s why they looked prepared. 2-3 exhibition games would have been great.

    JJ and Trouba almost looked the same out there. Just two awful dmen. I was never a fan of Trouba as Tony will attest to from my days on the other BSB. He is overrated and grossly over paid. Dude has had one good season and unfortunately for us, it was his contract year. 7 more years of this shit. I have no words to describe JJ other than he makes me miss Smith badly. Wow

    Miller had one or two decent moments. Needs time to develop.

    LaFreniere looked jittery at times but never out of place. Kid will be a star!

    Kakko doesn’t really look faster than last year. Still early but my bust radar is starting to warm up.

    Chytil isn’t a center as I have always said. What he is is a 3rd line winger who will tease with his ability and have some great spurts of play but will always leave you wanting more. Wing is a position of strength for the Rangers and they must deal from this to get a legit center . I would drive him to the airport if he was moved for PLD, a player at a position of desperate need.

    Best dman who looked steady and strong out there was Lindgren just like the playoffs. Had a few rusty shifts in the first but by the 2nd he was clearly reliable and steady. Everyone else looked terrible on defense including Fox who was undressed by Barzal.

    Buch was the best Forward and one of the only ones who seemed to play on his toes throughout.

    Igor looked terrible early but settled down and made many good stops.

    Bottom line is this team won’t go anywhere until they come up with another center. Huge whole in the organization. Man how I wish they traded up last year at the draft for Trevor Zegras.

    • I completely agree Czech. I was a supporter of Trouba but my feeling is changing, that is a contract that must be moved when Gorton and JD need to sign players coming off their ELC’s that they want to retain. I trade is badly needed and Quinn- I do not think is the answer behind the bench.

  • The Rangers looked scared…the Islanders are a well built team. They are structured, skilled and scare the sht out of people when they are able to throw Martin and Johnston on two separate lines.

    I will continue to say it, until the Rangers add a Martin or Johnston type to their roster…they will always be outmuscled by teams like the Islanders, Capitals, heck, just about everyone.

    There is way too much talent on this team to have such little energy.

    Enough with hunting for the big names and start focusing on guys who will actually help you win games.

    We have wasted so many picks on the same type of players and very rarely, if ever, draft the big rugged kid who will throw himself around like a wrecking ball.

    enough with the Leevi Altonean, Karl Henriksson and the like and start drafting more Will Cuyle’s.

    But for now, we need to find a lot more grit on this team if we want to be successful. I would see what it would take to get Sam Bennett or Adam Lowry or someone of that elk.

    • add a player like Patrick Maroon- I always wanted Maroon with the Rangers, he is a horse around the net and in the corners, he always shows up in the playoffs as well. Rangers do not have this type of player on the current roster on any of the lines.

  • Maybe Smith needs to go back in with Trouba, Johnson to the bench and Miller 3rd line LD. Miller on 1st pair is a lot for a rookie with no AHL.

    • Agreed to a point! Miller was ok to a point,looked overwhelmed at times, also because of Trouba was horrible.
      Miller should never have started on the 1st pair,especially against a very good Islander team.
      JJ street clothes please,,anyone but him..

  • Too much bad to cover it all.

    Quinn did not have the team ready to play. A short camp did not help I am sure, but seriously, they did not look well coached. Trotz had his team ready. Compare and contrast!

    Tony D had a lousy game. The penalty was a brain cramp that just should not happen.

    JJ was terrible. Let’s not put any lipstick on that pig. He does not belong on the ice. If they don’t pair Smith with Tony D soon the team will be out of the running in short order.

    Igor did not look ready either and that surprised me. Yes his team did not play well in front of him, but I expect him to be better than he was.

    There were a few bright spots, but they are not worth noting when they were so bad overall. Hopefully they play better Saturday.

    • 2nd and 3rd goals were quite stoppable. Big difference going into the 2nd period down 1-0 instead of 3-0.

  • Good Morning,

    Glad to have hockey back. The team look woefully under prepared. The Islanders with a big time scorer would be a very scary team. The way they play just suffocates any offense from their opposition. So they snuffed out our top players and the result was the shutout.

    Hopefully only better things from here. The new guys shook their nerves and the rest the rust off.

    Lafreniere looked good for his first game
    Smith should be playing instead of JJ
    Chytil has skills but is not our second line center…ever
    Zib skated well
    Kreider just skated around like a bull in a china shop
    Gauthier needs to just be fed the puck so he can snipe
    Trouba seemed to be trying to do too much
    Miller looked nervous. Lets see how he progresses
    Did Panarin play?
    Kakko looked lost
    Fox passed up some great shooting opportunities
    but he and Lindgren will be a rock solid pair

    Quinn is not a good in game manager. He just doesn’t seem to have the ability to change strategy as the game progresses.

    This is just 1 of 56 (more we hope) LGR!! hopefully we hit our stride, calm the F down and play hockey.

  • Rangers have a lot of young players, really no training camp or preseason which hurts younger teams more than Veteran teams IMHO. Islanders pounced on that. Hopefully that improves in a hurry.

    Nobody really looked good but several players did stand out (in a really negative way)

    Johnson is truly a horrible hockey player – no amount of games or practices is going to change that. Anyone miss Smith last night?

    It took exactly one game for ADA to lose his composure – I have posted earlier concerns about this being a growing issue and his play dropping off this year. Nothing he did tonight eased my mind. Nothing

    Miller looked lost – he’s a rookie, it was opening night and team didn’t show up but I suspect a ticket to AHL is in his future. He needs to put on some weight and build confidence. Rushing him up to the big team is not a priority – despite the dumpster fire we call our defense.

    Shesterkin needs to be better – MSG announcers were spot on – but lets be clear – even if he stood on his head it wouldn’t change the final outcome. [Hopefully, he didn’t pick up Lundqvist’s late career tendency to give up bad early goals in a game.] If the D doesn’t improve drastically, it will be a long season for our goalies.

    Quinn needs to do a better job in just about all facets of coaching – starting with getting team ready to play at opening face off.

    That said I will be more than happy to eat all these words if the Rangers come out with a strong win on Saturday and everyone redeems themselves.

  • Well they certainly looked like the youngest team in the league!
    Can someone teach Kakko how to check and use his size please!

  • It’s JUST ONE game …

    Yes, they looked real bad …
    Yes, JJ looks real bad …
    Yes, Miller looked like a rookie …
    Yes, Laffy looks like a future star …
    Yes, Shesty let in a couple of bad goals (2nd and 3rd goal) …

    • JJ got promoted off his performance in Game #1 . Didn’t you hear? Quinn has his new favorite pet.

      And elevating Howden to the PP is beyond comical. He would be like the 16th player I would choose. I would even choose D men up front on the PP before I choose him.

  • Yes, one game that looked way too familiar, really quick. Quinn needs to be Boston bound. Once again Rangers looked unstructured, just players taking up space on the ice. Quinn’s job is similar to that of a project manager. When you don’t plan well, and he doesn’t, your work is open to let downs, as they well in the past. Get him out of here before the team’s youngsters and veterans lose confidence. Make Jacques Martin Head Coach, and show Captain Quinn the plank.

  • One dimensional team of dancers but for a select few, each of whom are warriors and necessary components, but none of whom evoke fear in the other team. Comment about Johnston and Martin was spot on. Goons? They can skate and there wasnt even nearly a fight last night. Didnt need to be. They are what we called in my day “ploicemen”. Kept it honest for their dancers and instilled fear in ours. Couple them with our Lemieux, D’Angelo, Lindgren and, when he shows up, Kreider, and now opposing skaters have their heads up and come more timidly into our zone. Remember Keenan doesnt win us a Cup if he doesnt make a stand with NSmith at and before trade deadline to get us the backbone guys. We actually had the beasts who could play (Kocur, Wells, Beuk – and there’s a point right there – more than one) but we needed the glue. We have the skill players and we have some glue. Now we need several men (who can skate/play) to assure order on every shift, not just a 4th line shift.

    • Not surprised, however I think this is more about sending a message regarding his controlling his Mouth and Temper rather than his actual play right now. The whole D played bad last night

      • He’s been through this before … not sure it helps the team to sit him while JJ who looked like shite all night still plays.

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