Game Wrap-ups

Chris Kreider’s hat trick not enough as Rangers fall to Flyers

A Chris Kreider Hat Trick wasn't enough...

This is the kind of game you come away frustrated the Rangers couldn’t win. Despite getting outshot mainly because they took too many penalties and allowing the Flyers to set up shop against Shesterkin, the Rangers were the better team at creating chances 5 on 5. The team just couldn’t stay out of the box with some brutal delay of games and too-many-men calls. Yet despite the four goals against, Igor Shesterkin did look really good. Chris Kreider’s hat trick was nice to see as well.

The Rangers penalty kill had only given up a single power play goal in the last 9 games. It was only a matter of time that would regress and they would eventually allow some. Let’s dive a little deeper though into this game shall we?

To start, no Kakko (COVID protocol), no Miller (COVID protocol), no Chytil (injury), no Trouba (injury), and no Panarin (personal). So to say the Rangers were missing some good players is an understatement. But ultimately missing their best players puts into context that the game could have been way worse. Let’s hope guys like Kakko, Miller, and Chytil will be back soon. Panarin is rumored to only be out a few weeks, but time will tell on that. All we can hope and pray for is that he and his family remain safe in that situation.

Game Thoughts

The first period was a bit sloppy for the Flyers and Rangers alike at first. Yet because of the ensuing power plays from a too-many-men call and a slash, the Rangers allowed the Flyers to get some high danger shots. Shesterkin made some big saves, and again was good in this. The Rangers killed off the first penalty, but not the second. An Erik Gustafsson one-timer at the blue line that Shesterkin would definitely want back broke the streak. Shesterkin was unable to see it because Libor Hajek was battling low and screened Shesterkin until the puck was already past him. Not the kind of goal you want to give up immediately after a big kill.

The Rangers would get their own puck luck on a power play. Four seconds was all it took for Mika Zibanejad to rip a one-timer from the circle on net. Kreider slammed home the rebound much like he did against the Caps the previous game. This was the first of all three goals that came from the blue paint. Mika primary assisting two of them is great promise that his game is finally showing results. He’s looked great the last couple games.

The magic of Chris Kreider (hat trick) and Zibanejad (two assists) would unfortunately not come to full fruition as the Flyers were able to outpace the AHL caliber defense the Rangers dressed.

Alexis Lafreniere

This was also another game where Alexis Lafrenière wasn’t able to get above 15 minutes of ice time. With all of the players out of the lineup, this was one of the more puzzling things.

Colin Blackwell got more ice time and was promoted to the first power play unit, which is once again a head scratcher. This isn’t a slight against him. Blackwell has been a huge bright spot, but you have a first overall pick who could use some confidence. Let him play in the top six with an opening from Panarin being out.

That said, the Rangers did have 16 minutes of penalties. This plays into Laf’s ice time. Would it be the worst thing to even give Lafrenière a chance at killing penalties? He’s 19, but come on man, adding some skill to the PK like they did with Pavel Buchnevich this year isn’t a terrible decision.

The Howden and Hajek Experiment

We also need to have a discussion about Brett Howden and Libor Hajek. A quick mini rant, if you will. Both of these players have been unmitigated failures in this organization. With the play of guys like Morgan Barron and Tarmo Reunanen, both of whom deserve a call up, why are Howden and Hajek still here?

Howden has been a negative impact player his entire career here in New York, which is now in its third year. He has been given such a massive leash by Quinn despite not showing anything of value on the ice. He hasn’t scored a goal in 26 games (2/28 of last year against Philly). Anyone Quinn puts on a line with him nosedives as well. It’s time for the Howden experiment to end.

As for Hajek, he looked brutal having to play more ice time (15:59) than he would usually be given. Let’s look at it this way though, Hajek was on the taxi squad for 19 games as this organization didn’t deem him top-six worthy with the emergence of Miller. He was also the 9th defenseman on the depth chart.

The Ryan McDonagh trade continues to haunt the Rangers night in and night out the more these two get ice time. Pray Nils Lundkvist is the real deal and can come over next season to salvage the total package. Come get your expansion fodder Seattle!

End rant. But imagine this rant if Chris Kreider didn’t have a hat trick?

Let’s get the Bruins Friday!

Follow me on Twitter @TylerRichard93

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  • you know who they could have used last night? oh nm.

    Laf start is getting more worrisome by the game. I didnt think he must be a lock for the calder but i didnt expect him to struggle this much tracking pucks. (very normal for young players but the top pick?)

  • Was hoping with all I had that Mika, whose two great passes allowed Kreids to have his points, would have scored short handed from the nice lead from Buch
    Was an ugly game and the Rangers could have mailed this one in but battled the whole way thru

  • There were some bright spots in the game but overall it just wasn’t enough. Hajek just doesn’t look like NHL material, Howden not only doesn’t add anything, he hurts the team and all the penalties did them in. Agree with Tyler that they both need to be replaced. Must applaud Kreider on his hat trick and Blackwell for playing well. The loss of Miller, Kakko and Panarin is huge and it shows.

  • We were overmatched. Two too many men on the ice? Two delay of game? You cannot put your team in the box for 8 minutes when you are already playing short-handed.

    As much as I do not like AV, (or Lindy Ruff for that matter), both are doing pretty good in their situations. I think it is much less about the coach themselves but the internal fortitude of the players. IMO, the NYR do not have enough heart to go along with their slim talent.

  • The Rangers are a middle of the road organization…I hate it…but it is the truth…whenever you think they are turning the corner…they do something utterly horrible to set the organization back.

    It could be the wrong coach, the wrong trade, the wrong draft pick but it is always something.

    As a fan, 20-25 years ago…Neil Smith mortgage the future for a cup….it worked, so you ignore Tony Amonte, Doug Weight, careers.

    But for every Messier trade, Smith then made some of the worst trades after that…Zubov, Norstrom, etc…

    Follow that up with 20 years of failure from Sather.

    and now we have had 5 years of Gorton, who i really felt was the right guy…but the McDonagh trade was so insanely bad that it set the Rangers back several years…Quinn seems to be the wong guy to lead the team.

    The prospect pool seems to have some quality but we have so many of the same players. i.e, we took the swede in the 3rd round, a few picks later the Flyers take Zayne Wisdom, who is a big thick kid who is excelling in the AHL already…every article I read, indicates the Flyers got a gem…our kid is 3-4 years away…if we are lucky.

    • I know ppl didnt want to overpay hagelin – but that trade was another big set back. havnt really replaced him yet. berard maybe? lias pick was another. just a killer for the C depth.

      • forgot about Hagelin, how has his career played out? and another awful return and draft selection.

        I know drafting is a very difficult occupation but with all of the assets afforded to the Rangers and I have stated this in the past…how do we not have the best scouts, the best of everything.

        Again, Dolan doesn’t really care about hockey, he looks at it like the Rangers aren’t horrible, that is good enough for me.

      • “I know ppl didnt want to overpay hagelin – but that trade was another big set back. havnt really replaced him yet. berard maybe? lias pick was another. just a killer for the C depth.”

        Trading Hags had zero setbacks in terms of play loss. Jesper Fast became a better 5v5 version. Than we had Kevin Hayes leading the league in shorthanded goals and points.

        ^ Those trades set this team more back than the Carl Hagelin trade.

        Stop it…..

    • Hi jj, Spot on comment. Yzerman took Gorton to the cleaners on that one. One of the worst trades in Franchise history. It won Tampa a cup. We have one cup in 80 years. It would be comical if it was not so tragic.

    • I don’t like the McDonagh trade at all, but there only remnant of hope left from that deal is Nils Lundkvist. We’ll have to hope he blossoms into a stud.

      I also think Kakko and Laf will be good players. They just need time and more opportunity. William Karlsson is a good example. He was a bottom six player who scored 6 goals in his last season with CBJ, then hit the 40 mark in Vegas, because he was given a chance.

      This leads me to my last point, Quinn is not the right man for this job. I don’t expect the team to be any good this year, especially with the current lineup. But I didn’t like the hire when it was made, and he’s done nothing but get out-coached and continued the trend of puzzling line-ups and sheltering and punishing young players.

    • It took less than 2 years for Gorton to take the NYR’s prospect pool from being ranked at the bottom of the NHL to the top — and that was BEFORE this year’s draft.

      While the McD trade did not produce nearly the results expected, trading him was essential to starting the rebuild. Until someone can tell me what else Gorton was offered, it is sheer unsupported speculation to blame Gorton to such a degree. And, to say it “set the Rangers back several years” is simply untrue.

  • Our # 1 pick should be in the AHL. The Kid is not ready. Not sure if he will ever be more than an average NHL player. When I think of # 1 picks, Connor McDavid , Austin Matthew’s come to mind. This kid can’t carry their hockey sticks.

    • He’s not really been given an opportunity to succeed like McDavid or Matthews. But I also don’t think he was ever marketed as the next McDavid or Matthews.

      • Of course he has. With the ice time and line mates Laf has been given, McDavid and Matthews would have had 10+ points at the start of their career. The reality is that at this point, he simply isn’t very good and belongs in the AHL. And if you must play him in NY, at least cut back the ice time.

        Long term, he projects to be one of the weaker #1 overalls. I think it is clear he will never be in the HOF and I think it is rare that you can say that about a #1 overall this early in his career. He should have he talent to be a successful player, maybe even top six, but the smart money is to trade him while his trade value exceeds his true value.

        Oh – and for those who think trading him is crazy, that is my point. Lots of people will pay through the nose for him. Maybe Laf and ADA for Eichel or Barkov?

  • So much panic and pessimism. The team is missing SIX starters…and not bottom six players either. Key players. Games like this are to be expected. I actually thought all things considered, there were some positives.
    Would’ve liked to see them toss rebound shots from the point at Elliot more, but it is what it is. 4 dumb penalties that could’ve been averted and 4 others. Tough to get any flow with that many PKs. I thought their PP actually looked very good.

    • I remember that deadline deal like it was yesterday…oh, the Rangers pulling off a blockbuster….McDonagh going to Bolts, oh wait, JT Miller has been included….I was like, holy sht, we are getting Mikhail Sergachev and something else really good.

      Then the landfill of garbage started to fill in.

      Nils better be the second coming of Nick Lidstrom for that trade to not go down as one of the worst ever.

  • Regarding McDonagh, let’s think of it this way.

    The Rangers trading nothing to get McDonagh. Perhaps there is some level of poetic justice in the Rangers getting nothing when they traded McDonagh. Just trying to add some positivity and perhaps a tongue-in-cheek joke that was mentioned in the BSB chat yesterday.

    Also – most of this McDonagh trade talk will disappear once Nils Lundkvist comes over.

  • The big news in this game, IMO, was the 14 minutes of ice time for Lindgren. Anyone know why? Cause for concern?

  • Lingren got shoved into the end boards and clunked his head awkwardly. He also took a puck over the glass penalty. Maybe those things played into it? How much playing time does he normally get? 18 minutes?

    • Lindgren averages 20:06. However, with Miller (the other good left dman) and Trouba out, we would expect him closer to the middle 20s.

  • Alexis Lafrenière probably could have used some AHL time, especially in view of the short camp. He isn’t going to get more ice time if he is not playing well. I disagree with the claim that he hasn’t been given a shot thus far.

    Look, nobody said he was going to take the league by storm like Conner McDavid or Auston Matthews. He was never billed as being on their level. He was slated instead to be a sure-fire NHL player with great skills and physical attributes who has a very high ceiling. Nothing that has happened thus far changes that . He is a big boy at only 19 who has obvious skills. He just needs to learn how to be a NHL hockey player. There is nothing wrong with that.

  • This year’s draft is not great. A top ten pick is not even a surefire NHLer. This is the year to trade a 1st for something.

    Lafrenier has been a let down and he has been out preformed by Nail Yukpov. With that said, Thorton had 7 points and was a minus 6 in 55 games as a rookie. I would not say he was a bust.

    It is way too early to get on Laf. This is a bizarre season and last night he was playing on an AHL team against NHL players.

  • So far, Lafreniere has averaged 12:29 TOI at ES; Howden has averaged 10:25. Lafreniere has been on the ice for 4 GF; Howden for 5. Lafreniere sometimes plays with top line mates, far more often than Howden does.

    Yes, Howden has been bad, but he is not the worst forward on the team.

    ********

    This article is absurd. There is no Hajek experiment. The Rangers have only fourteen defensemen on the 50 man roster, fewer than usual. Of those, Robertson (juniors), Rykov (Europe), DeAngelo (persona no grata) are completely unavailable. So they really have eleven. With Trouba and Miller out and Crawley a marginal AHL player, they had a whopping eight options. Maybe they could have given Reuanen or Raddysh a shot, but Hajek is not playing because the Rangers believe in him. Hajek, Bitetto, and Johnson are just perceived as the least bad options. Remember, Reuanen has almost no experience in North America and was playing in a not particularly high-level European league. He may be worth considering, but he has not earned anything and could easily fall on his face. [Nor has Barron earned anything, seriously 3 points in 4 games rates a call-up]

  • I submit to you that the supposed “third line” was not actually the third line. Howden line played less than 8 minutes at even strength, Rooney played 10-12ish. and both howden and rooney were killing penalties, which evens out.

  • A terribly sloppy game by both teams, quite honestly.

    AV’s teams are like this, as we know: Giving up a lot of scoring chances and leaving the goalie out to dry. But the Rangers are not built that way now, especially with so many starters out.

    The reason why this was a frustrating loss was because Shesty played out of his mind to keep the Rangers in it. if it were 3-0 after 10 minutes, then there’s nothing to be frustrated about, lol.

    Keith Jones: How is Kreider not a 40 goal scorer?
    Answer: Because he does not play like this even 50% of the time!! That’s why.

    If Kreider plays like this 75% of the time, he is an elite player. All 3 goals near the blue paint. Gee, who da thunk it? Players not willing to go near the goalie are not going to score goals!! It’s as simple as that.

    “The Hpwden Experiment” is a travesty that gets extended by the coach, who is completely clueless. Howden continues to play, DG continues to play, Brodz whatever gets more minutes than Gaut. I mean, what is the coach thinking about? Is he looking to get fired? Is he hoping to get fired?

    Hajek has played better but another mindless turnover in the neutral zone almost turned into a breakaway goal.

    Shesty was spectacular, even if you want to criticize him for the Hayes goal. This is not a game without his Henrik-like heroics.

    Lemiuex and Blackwell getting PP time over Lafren and Gaut is laughable.

    Fox does not get the national ink that Quinn Hughes does, but he is just as good, probably better, all around.

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