No rant tonight. I promise to be level headed this time around. This was by no means a pretty game, but Rangers found a way to win the hockey game. For all of the complaining, and the critiques, I thought–barring a few decisions–that David Quinn coached okay last night. My only complaint is Alexis Lafrenière continues to just not be put into positions to succeed. I really wonder what could go wrong, given the lack of center depth, how he would look at that position. His natural abilities are to be a playmaker. But that’s besides the point, let’s get to the thoughts of the game shall we? After all, the Rangers did snap their losing streak.
The Rangers let a goal in in the first minute of the game again, but what else is new this season? They seem to have followed a pretty standard script at the quarter mark of the season that they are not always there at puck drop. The Flyers took advantage of a net mouth scramble and Alex Georgiev just did not react fast enough to stop the puck.
The Rangers turned it up though with some chances and would end up having 11 shots against Carter Hart while the Flyers only had six. Ah, remember the Alain Vigneault days of being outshot but somehow winning?
The officiating crew was pretty amateur as both teams would be awarded numerous power plays throughout the game. A full two minute 5-on-3 for the Rangers that would get negated by a Chris Kreider offensive zone hooking call. Chris, buddy, what are you doing? A quick look at CapFriendly would show that contract is going to be brutal going forward, isn’t it?
The only conversion on the power play for either team was the Rangers. The goal was a Colin Blackwell deflection in front from an Anthony Bitetto shot. They really went from Tony D to Tony B running a power play and looking pretty good doing it. Don’t look now, but in 7 games, Blackwell has 5 points. Protect him at all costs from the expansion draft. That would be the only goal of the 2nd, and the game would be tied going into the third.
The third period produced what has been the story for most the season. The Rangers put up lots of pressure, but just not didn’t get the puck luck for goals. That would change with about half the period to go, when the Rangers stole the puck when the Flyers attempted to exit the zone. Ryan Strome got a chance, and the rebound went to Artemi Panarin’s stick. In one motion, tapped it along to Brendan Smith for a wide open net goal. Thankfully it wasn’t Strome against that wide open net. Phew!
The period would progress and luck would once again go against the Rangers. The Flyers purposefully took a shot wide for the puck to come right out front of the net. Joel Farabee crashed the crease and tied the game with about a minute to go, and it looked like the Rangers would continue their losing streak. This team still can’t defend a 6 on 5 all these years later and it’s really just comical at this point. Any close game seems to go to OT and beyond, every single time.
In overtime, not once did we see Lafrenière and that was frustrating. All I want is for the kid to get some actual players to succeed with, and get him away from the Kevin Rooney’s and the Brett Howden’s of this lineup. Players like Chris Kreider are not living up to their asks on this roster, and I think a guy like Lafrenière could use some open ice like that to just get the monkey off his back.
He is a very good player. I fully contribute his lack of scoring to his quality of line mates. Very few of his linemates can take an actual pass without shooting it right into the goalie’s chest. They can’t find him in the high danger areas either. I really hope that when Chytil comes back, Lafrenière is glued to him. A line of Lafrenière-Chytil-Kakko was be something to behold earlier this year.
Ok I lied, I ranted.
While in overtime, Rangers would get rewarded a rare power play in the extra frame. The Flyers needed to take a penalty with Pavel Buchnevich all alone in front off a great pass by Kaapo Kakko after some solid cycling. Adam Fox, Mika Zibanejad, Panarin, and Kreider would be the foursome on the ice for essentially the entire power play. They just hemmed the Flyers in the zone but could not score. Zibanejad fanned on two one-timer attempts but showed he was pretty much pre-loaded for the one timer the entire power play. You can tell, he just wants to rip a puck through the net. Overtime would produce no goals so we would go to the shootout.
This was where I give Quinn major props.
His first shooter: Kaapo Kakko. Gambled with it and it paid off as Kakko absolutely ripped a quick snap shot past Hart from about 5 feet out. Georgiev let one in by Sean Couturier, and then Panarin worked his magic in the shootout and also let a quick release go and snap a shot past Hart.
James van Riemsdyk would try to extend the shootout, but Georgiev made the stop, skipped a few times to celebrate a hard fought two points. The Rangers finally, FINALLY, won a hockey game and snapped their losing streak. That 4 game skid was tough on all of us.
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