Game Wrap-ups

Penalty kill and defense power Rangers over Caps

What a difference an assistant coach makes, eh? The Rangers have had solid defensive structure all year –with some blips, of course– and it was on full display this afternoon. The Rangers defense took away the Caps primary weapons by clogging passing lanes and getting sticks on shots. The end results was a 4-1 win, giving the Rangers two in a row.

Igor Shesterkin was solid in this one again, outdueling Vitek Vanacek at the other end. Shesty had to make a few solid saves, but the defense ensured it wasn’t that often. This is almost a complete-180 from last year’s Rangers. This year they can’t score but can defend. Last year they couldn’t defend but could score at will. Defense is harder to learn and maintain. The offense will come. This is a big step in the right direction.

Rangers 1, Caps 0 – Finally a powerplay goal

After a powerplay with no shots, they finally decided to shoot the puck. Artemi Panarin one-timed a shot from the Ovechkin spot, and Chris Kreider was in front untouched for the rebound. Washington is really bad at defending the front of the net.

Rangers 2, Caps 0 – No one covers in front

The Caps just let Alexis Lafreniere sit there in front, uncovered and untouched. This is not good penalty killing.

Rangers 3, Caps 0 – Strome’s 100th career goal

Ryan Strome’s 100th was a beautiful wrist shot from up top. There’s no way Vanecek saw this through three bodies in front and one on Strome.

Rangers 3, Caps 1 – The final minute killer

The Caps outnumbered Lafreniere and Mika Zibanejad along the boards, which led to a turnover. Dmitry Orlov took the puck and walked in almost uncontested. He tucked one under Shesterkin’s glove and just inside the post. Shesterkin was off his angle on this one, ideally that is stopped.

Rangers 4, Caps 1 – Zibanejad finally gets one!

Mika Zibanejad finally scored! Yea it was on an empty net, but who cares? Bonus – Pavel Buchnevich pulled the monkey off his back too.

Shot Heatmap – Spread out, but little danger

The Rangers let off the gas in the third period, when they were up two. But again, none of it was really quality, at least not at even strength. The late penalty on Anthony Bitetto wasn’t great, but again the PK did its job.

Skater Results – Another strong effort

A lot of dull and good, which is what you want to see. The Rangers are rarely in the ‘fun’ section anymore. They play solid defense and they were great on limiting quality against. This seems to be a theme for the team, and not the exception. Without a doubt, the Rangers defense got the win over the Caps today.

With tomorrow’s game cancelled, the Rangers are off until Wednesday when they get the Flyers again. Hopefully by that point, Kaapo Kakko is off the COVID list and the Rangers are closer to full strength.

Charts from Natural Stat Trick and Evolving-Hockey.

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  • Shestyorkin will start Wednesday; Georgiev should go Friday but I figure Quinn will ride the hot hand. But after the Philly game there isn’t a break for a month, including a pair of 3 in 4 days.

  • To Dave’s point a defensive foundation is a requirement of a true Cup contender. They aren’t one yet, but they are building towards that. The offense will come with all the skill they have. Despite the results thus far and the outrage of the fans, this is a team on the rise.

    • The Rangers could be in 3rd or 4th. They have battled hard most games.

      If this were an 82 game season, they could battle into and make the playoffs. It will be a lot harder to do in a shortened season. No matter, they look better this year in their first 15 than they did last year in their first 15.

    • First you learn how to play a solid defensive game while minimizing mistakes, then the offense will come given the innate talent on this club — last year we had it in reverse and the overall solid defensive game was never going to materialize. One component without the other makes for mediocrity and inconsistency.

      • Amazing how simple (and correct)an understanding that is yet people only want to dump on the negatives.
        Simple fact is that you won’t win if your horses aren’t playing at or near top level..Crazy how this”compleye game” coincided with our top 6 leading the scoring charge?!?
        And further you won’t contend if you don’t learn how to play a structured D, which we are finally doing for the first time in years.
        We are on a fun ride watching this team grow, ashame to see so many bitch and moan on each imperfection.

  • I was most impressed with the Rangers playing total team defense or in more basic terms disciplined hockey. If they play like that consistently, they will win more games

  • As impressive as a win that I have seen all year. The Rangers suffocated the Caps, and the Ranger forecheck was near flawless…A very impressive win. Panarin was amazing and the phenom LaFrenchise scored….Zibs with the empty net tally, and Stromboli with his 100 goal……

  • Now THAT was a quality win. The win against Philly was a “make up” for other games they played well but lost.

    This one, they played well at both ends of the ice and beat a very good opponent. It looked like ALL the Rangers were focused on creating traffic in front of the net.

    Very well done. Shesty was very good as well. The Caps’ goal was not great but he made stops when he needed to.

    Man, Fox is effing great. The best D man we have had since McD was playing at his best. Very high level.

    Even the deployment was ok, other than Gaut still not getting more minutes. But can’t complain with such a solid win. We need to see more of this.

    And great for Lafren. Was very happy for the kid.

    • Couldn’t agree more, and equally important, a great learning experience by a very young team. Hmmm, could it be this guy Quinn really does know how to develop young talent? Just that he’s human and cant do it overnight. Just like all the other humans in the world. In my opinion, in his years here, he has earned a shot at next years team. You know, the one that will have to compete into the playoffs. He has done all the heavy lifting during this rebuild. He deserves a shot at going after the Cup with the team he built.

      Remember, I said this was my opinion, I just happen to like the guy, and the job he’s done. Although not perfect, again like every other human, he has done a very good job figuring this rebuild out.

      • Joseph, I want our coach to succeed, because, he’s our coach.

        He said yesterday: “I’ve always believed in playing our best players on the same line…” But has hardly ever put Zib and Panarin together until now. Maybe some sprinklings over the last 2 years, but not consistently. He contradicts himself.

        And I’m not saying that putting those 2 players together is right or wrong, just talking about what the coach says, and what he does, are 2 different things.

        But I will say that his deployment was much better yesterday. Rooney got 18 minutes. You know what? He deserves it. He’s played great for his role and got recognized for it. That’s the way it is supposed to be. Earn your minutes, no matter who you are.

        I think that Martin gets a lot of credit, since, except for a few games, the team D has been vastly better. I think that I read that the Caps had a handful of high scoring chances yesterday. That’s quite an accomplishment, against that team.

        It also helps that Fox is playing even better than last year and Miller is playing great as well. Even Hajek, after a couple of mind numbing turnovers has played more consistently over the past week or so.

        It comes down to the big guns, for scoring. They have to play better, and yesterday, they did, and they won. It’s not a secret as to what leads the Rangers to wins.

        I forgot to mention in my comments above, that Buch played another great game. It would be idiotic to trade this guy, IMO.

        • Sorry but you can’t just pull an excerpt of what the coach said and then say as a result he contradicts himself. At the same time he said what you report he also said it was extremely difficult to break up the KZB line because they were playing so well, and because of that he left Panarin on the second line giving them 2 offensive lines. I’m sure you would agree that was the case last year. So the reason for the change was to try to get Zib going as well. It worked he scored an empty netter. This is a good coach, teaching what will become a great team and he deserves a shot at next years team, IMO. I think it would be extremely foolish as well as a step backward to not give him that opportunity. Next year the team will need to compete, no doubt, but let him complete the job. Rome was not built in a day. Good things take time and the team is trending in the right direction.

          • I just tell it like it is, from game to game.

            I gave him credit for putting Kakko out in the shootout, I said it right away, as it was happening.

            I gave him credit for deployment in yesterday’s game as well. I gave him a lot of credit for playing Rooney 18 minutes yesterday, as they were earned minutes.

            The whole team had a great game yesterday, from coaches on down to the players. No question.

            IMO, and I said this at the beginning of the season, that I thought that Quinn would not be fired this year, even if the team bombed, due to the Covid situation.

            As I stated below, I think that the players, and Quinn for that matter, are suffering from a lack of a real, strong Captain. Bread, Zib, Kreider, and Trouba, the main candidates for that job, are not it, IMO.

  • Tip of the hat for pk and D in general to Jacques. What I noticed today was how good the passing and positioning of our D ( in our D zone ) was. Passes in neutral zone by forwards was great, o zone was better.

  • first off, lafs goal was not on a pp. kreiders was.

    my policy is not to comment on games i didnt see so I wont. only that i think that is going to be lafs signature type goal around the net (vs say wiring shots from the circles) . and thats why its taking longer to see tangible results because thats a harder area to play and will take longer to get comfortable there but the goal today was a good sign.

    • They were pretty good defensively with Trouba as well, this has been (aside from 2-3 games) a constant actually. It’s the offensive game that has been lacking most nights (compared to last season).

  • Panarin just makes everyone around him better. Just an amazing player to have on this team. Makes something at of what would be nothing for most players, even when the other team surrounds him.

    I think the Rangers are starting to figure out that this playoff style of patience and 5 player defense is how they have to play in order to compete each game. Even guys on defense not named Miller, Fox or even Smith (he has been closer to the player they first acquired a few years ago) are looking decent when defense is a team effort. Forwards are definitely dropping down lower to help Dmen and staying in zone longer – Have to believe a lot of that credit goes to Martin – This group has not played this system before under DQ.

    One thing I have noticed is that opposing teams are covering Rangers point men up high and trying to force Rangers to move puck quicker. Rangers need to take more one timers rather than stop and shoot.

    • How many players on nyr have a one timer in their arsenal? Mika, panarin … kakko maybe. I dont think one d does. So easier said than done. It’s a hard shot to execute.

      • You don’t need to hammer bombs, you just flip the point men to their off hand (like the Soviets did 50 years ago) and get shot/passes quickly on net so the goalie is moving. Screen the goalie, tip/redirect shots and pound the crease on a rebound.

  • First of all, some of the guys on here need to swallow their pride every once in a while and give the head coach a little credit occasionally. Could we say he has the confidence in himself to listen to Jacque’s defensive ideas and incorporate them into his team? This group is miles, repeat miles, better defensively than last season. Miller has something to do with that, yes. But the five-man defense is much much better as well, as has been described above. And I’m probably the only one who doesn’t want to have Trouba guillotined.

    Second, the coach hasn’t panicked and sat Zib, as I’ve seen on a few occasions advocated. The guy is not going to get 40 goals this year; that’s clear. I’ve seen the discussion about last years shooting percentages, blah blah blah with all the other millenial analytics drivel. But if he reverts to his mean over the last 40 games this team could make for an interesting March and April. And is this guy Panarin any good? The pass to Laf was brilliant. Just brilliant.

    Lastly. In my mind guys like Blackwell, Rooney, Bitetto and DiGiuseppe are pleasant surprises. At the very least, these guys are giving JD and Jeff flexibility in expansion decisions. And are Bitetto and DiGiuseppe great names for New York hockey players, or what?

    That’s it. Things are looking up.

    Regards- orange

  • IMO, the Rangers are severely lacking without a very strong Captain. They have not had one since Jagr, no disrespect to Cally and McD.

    A guy that can command the room, while playing very good hockey. This team does not have that combo. Bread is great, but not a C, IMO. Neither is Kreider nor Zib, IMO. Not strong Captains, anyway.

    The difference between Crosby and Malkin, IMO, is that I can see Crosby getting in players’ faces, when it warrants it, and backing it up with great play on the ice. I don’t see Malkin in that role. Too moody and inconsistent.

    So the question is, if the Rangers do a blockbuster deal after this offseason, does the player they get, not only fill a center need, but also become the Captain of the team?

    I wonder if that is the reason why the Rangers have not named a Captain as of yet. Maybe that player is not here yet. Just spit balling.

  • I’m starting to see the Rangers puck possession numbers really increasing as of late. Defensive schemes by Jacques Martin is changing the Rangers into a more-solid, defensive team. Smart playing too, in their own end allows the Rangers more time to spend in the other end!

    • I watched the game again today (I was at work when it was on yesterday so I kept glancing up to watch), and I noticed that there was good spacing between the Ranger players, as they came back on D.

      That’s the first time, in a long time that I noticed it from them. They played their respective zones perfectly. There was no “everyone go to the puck” nonsense. They were well structured and the result was very limited scoring chances.

      Shesty probaby thinks that he should have had a shutout.

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