Game Wrap-ups

Rangers game review: Shesterkin injury dampens offensive explosion

Thank God the Devils Goalies Had An Off Night

Despite the score, this game was a result of the Devils goalies unable to make a damn save. Someimes, a Rangers game review is just that simple. The Devils did this to the Rangers twice earlier in the season, where they won despite the Rangers being the better team. It’s a nice change to be honest. The Rangers might have been outplayed, but it’s nice to just take a dump on your rival.

Igor Shesterkin was just immaculate in goal, but got injured while trying to make a save. Hopes and prayers that whatever ailed him does not keep him out long. He’s been so good despite his record. If it does though, you hope Alex Georgiev can turn up his individual game. Let’s dive a little deeper here shall we? Boy do I have some thoughts about a few decisions tonight.

Rangers Game Review – First Period

The Rangers got outplayed in the first, which is also a short and sweet game review of the entire night. There were no if’s, and’s, or but’s about it. The Devils just showed up for the game on time and had some immediate high danger chances against Shesterkin. The only goal allowed coming in the first was due to a lively bounce off the end board and right out to Jack Hughes. Plus a  rare miscue and lackadaisical defensive effort by Adam Fox. Igor just had no chance to make the save. This wasn’t even the biggest question mark of the period.

That would come if you took a look at the time on ice sheet and noticed that Pavel Buchnevich and Mika Zibanejad BOTH had less than 4 minutes of ice time at the end of the first. Look, we’ve all been wondering what the hell is wrong with Zibanejad. He doesn’t have the finishing ability, seems to sometimes appear lost on the ice, but he also has 5 points in his last 6 games. The ice time would become an even bigger issue.

My Patented RantTM

The second period started with the Rangers down 1-0 and being hilariously outshot 14-6. What does Quinn do? Starts Brett Howden and the 4th line. But it didn’t stop there, then the 2nd line of Kreider, Strome, Blackwell got a shift. Then low and behold the first line would come out and be centered by Filip Chytil. Mika was benched. He would not get a shift until a little after halfway through the second period.

The Rangers are hilariously weak at center even with Chytil back in the lineup and Strome putting up some stellar numbers riding on a line with Kreider and Blackwell. Zibanejad doesn’t strike me as the kind of player that responds to benching.

You think Zibanejad doesn’t know he’s struggling? Do you really think a professional athlete doesn’t know he needs to be better night in and night out being a captain on this team? Does Zibanejad’s game improve sitting on the bench while Brett Howden gets more ice time to run some suicides out there and contribute nothing of value? Why doesn’t Howden get benched?

I don’t care the Rangers won this game on 19 shots and 6 goals, that was a crap move by Quinn and co especially since Zibanejad has been setting up his line mates fine the past 6 games. We know Mika is normally a goal scorer, but he is at least contributing offensively over the last little while. Benching your top line center is stupid and should never be done. Glad the Rangers won though despite this bad decision.

Now The Second Period

With Mika on the bench, the second line got some more ice time. They would come alive as Kreider netted two goals in Chris Kreider style. He crashed the net on the first, and deflected a Ryan Lindgren slap shot for the second. This put the Rangers up 2-1. Kreider really is either the best player in the NHL or totally invisible and there is no in-between.

Give a nod to Igor in this period as well. The Rangers got a pair on six shots, but Igor had to make 9 saves with like 3 or 4 of them being quality saves.

Third Period

Kreider continued his hot streak and got his second hat trick in a week. Chytil made a great pass, and a nice move with a hard wrist shot upstairs by Kreider finished it.

Then came the heartbreak. On the powerplay the Devils get a short-handed chance. Igor pushed side to side to go and make a save attempt and just fell to the ice and did not get up. He stayed down for quite awhile and you could cut the tension of all of Rangers fandom with a knife.

Buchnevich helped trainer Jim Ramsey get Igor to his feet and help get him over to the bench. Igor did not put any weight on his right leg. You hope it is nothing, but man that just took the wind out of the sails. Quinn would say in the post game presser that it was a “lower body injury” and would be further evaluated. so we all will have to hold our collective breath.

Another player on an absolute tear is Alexis Lafrenière. He got on the score sheet in the second period with an absolute dime to Buchnevich for a one timed blast past Mackenzie Blackwood. Oh, and Alexis Lafrenière is a New York Ranger who can absolutely snipe LASERS past goalies, like we saw last night. Maybe he wasn’t a bust after all…

Follow me on Twitter @TylerRichard93

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  • Zibby needed to sit as much as we needed to see Chytil play between 2 good forwards. We all know Zibby is struggling. I have no problem with him sitting a few shifts.

    I would think Zibby will have a mysterious upper body injury soon if he doesn’t snap out of the slumber,

    Krieder is a beast when he wants to be. Nice pass by LaFren on the goal by Buch,

    We have 2 decent lines and 2 lines of muckers. Need more talent in the bottom 6.

    • The talent level is just fine on the Rangers, up and down the lineup. When Mika returns to some semblance of his prior form (and he will) this team can battle anybody.

      • Disagree on the talent – Blackwell, Rooney, Phil DG, Gautier , Lemiaex and even Howden are all borderline NHL players. I can see 3 being on your 4th line, but we have too many journeymen on the roster. Kakko & Kraftsov need to round out the 3rd line with the 4th line in a rotation

        • Blackwell is borderline? What are you smoking?

          Besides, you do realize we have been wracked with injuries the last few weeks? Is that how you judge a team’s overall talent, when they’re missing 2 out of their Top 6 forwards?

  • were you watching the same game I was ? Quinn started the fourth line in the second period because it was the ONLY line that had any good shifts in the first period, it wasn’t even close…they were the only line that spent any time forechecking and pressuring the puck in the Devil’s zone. I thought it was a perfect move.

  • This may seem a little deep for you, but let’s give it a try. There is more to Coaching than wins and losses. There is a psychological component as well. When a star player struggles, and he is given countless tries to play his way out of it with no obvious change, on a night when he seems to be sleepwalking through the First Period sitting him may be the best thing in the long run…I don’t know, I’m not in the room. Neither are you.

  • I love when Kreider goes on tears. He’s too old now, but I used to think he really could be the best player in the whole league if he could consistently perform like this. Either way, happy to see he still has the dominating stretches in him. It’s true, he’s either a ghost or he’s the next Messier.

  • Shesterkin is no doubt out for a number of weeks. I have no doubt that Georgiev can step in and do a credible job but Shesty has been great of late.
    If he is not producing Zib being benched should follow the rule that if you play bad you sit but it doesn’t apply to Howden, who has contributed next to nothing.

    • “the rule that if you play bad you sit”

      As I said below, this is not the proper rule. You sit players who are not playing at the level they are capable of. You don’t use players of limited ability when you don’t have to, but you don’t discipline them.

  • Dave, you are missing a key point. You did not actually utter the sentence “I don’t understand why he benched Mika”, but you may as well have and I will act as if you did. The most important pronoun in that sentence is “I”; it is not “he”. The fact that you cannot undestand something does not make it wrong.

    As a number of commenters here have already said, Quinn was acting reasonably. When you bench a player, among other things, you are sending the message that he is not the team, in a sense that the team does not him to play the game. Telling Zib that he needs to play solid hockey but does not have to carry the Rangers actually takes some of the pressure off. This may just help get a player who is pressing back on the right track. [nothing else has worked so far.] And if the team in general is not giving the proper effort, why not give more time to the bad player(s) who are giving it their all.

    OTOH, there is no reason to “bench” Howden. Howden’s problem is that he is just not very good. He follows the script as well or better than anyone. From what I’ve seen, he rarely messes up. However, it is only a small exaggeration to say that he never does anything positive. Mind you, I would not play him when either Panarin or Kakko comes back. However, I suspect he is the 14th best forwad the Rangers actually have and needs to play when the Rangers have players out.

    JFTR, Howden had less even strength time than Gauthier. In the previous game, he was last among forwards in ice time (Laf was first), which went unmentioned.

  • Unrelated, does the Braden Schneider signing seem odd as his contract cannot slide and the Rangers are burning a year of his ELC? Does this mean we are likely to see him this year?

  • shout out to fox who set up the first two goals at least that I recall and numerous other good things

  • Kreider continues to score at a torrid pace. He has filled the void left by the departed Bread. Shesterkin has been a rock in net. He has been there with the big save when the defence breaks down.

    We don’t know how long Shesterkin will be out if action and Kreider will not keep up this scoring pace forever. The team needs Bread, Trouba and Kaak back in the lineup. They also need Zib back. He has looked like a zombie out there this season. Playing him less minutes may actually help him. It will give him a chance to recharge his batteries and provide him with more energy to finish his chances.

    • I am not a doctor, but is it out of hand to think Zib may need time to step away and collect himself and get back to 100%. I don’t imagine trying to go full force in an NHL season is helping him recover.

  • 1) Anyone who ever uttered bust in conjunction with Alexis Lafrenière is rather silly. This is a 19 year-old learning the NHL game. Now he is starting to show what he can do (like stealing the puck from Jack Hughes to help set up a goal, and later firing a laser past the goalie.)

    2) Chris Kreider looks motivated that is for sure. Perhaps it is that he is answering the call with Panarin out. But whatever it is, may he keep it up.

    3) Ryan Strome has been playing very well for almost the entire season. Give him his due.

    4) Chytil is going to be a quality NHL center. He is still developing but I expect good things.

    5) Adam Fox is often the best player on the ice.

    6) I hope that Igor’s injury is not as severe as it looks. It has to give you pause because whatever one’s feelings were about Hank, he was durable.

    • Agreed Peter with you about Lafreniere. I have kept my thoughts about him to myself. His play on the ice will speak for him. IMHO he will turn a lot of heads for years to come.

  • Funny game but I’ll take the win. Igor’s injury is a unfortunate. The team will battle through. We’ve won a few games now without Panarin, Kakko and Trouba and to me that is a good sign for the direction this team is headed. Lafreniere is figuring it out. points in 4 in a row and first multi point game.Kreider has been a beast. What’s our left side going to look like when Panarin is back? good problem to have. Buch has been solid all around. Strome has been pretty good and productive. I am in the camp of trading him at some point but he’s certainly providing value and doing it away from Panarin is a positive. Zbad is tough to gauge. Hoping it’s a short term thing but certainly concerning.

  • Mika is a free agent at the end of next year…if this blip is temporary or a sign of long-term decline will determine if he is a Ranger for life….what a difference a year makes…likes most things, time will tell. I’m a big fan and for obvious reasons hope he turns it around.

  • Did everyone hear CK20’s post game comments. Nuff said.

    Quinn’s decision making is poor at best. I keep saying it, he isn’t NHL material. Bench Him.

    “.”

    Zib has an “A” on his sweater people. He knows exactly what is happening and as per his teammates, he is working his A$$ off.

    Benching him, WRONG!

    “.”

    Calgary just shifted their coaching gears at .500
    The Rangers needs to make the move now because how every you cut it, it looks more and more like, unless the players all play stellar hockey, the Rangers don’t win, there is no games were Quinn’s coaching pulls out games because…
    listen closely, he doesn’t coach well during games.

    we need a new coach please.

    he benched an “A” for not playing well? he didn’t even state what parts of his system Z wasn’t adhering too, he benched an “A” due to a slump? Really?

    Z had COVID, the entire season is pushed into a quick start condensed form, other players on this team and in the league are having poor starts…

    Coach DQ benches a guy for working hard but not playing up to the SICK CRAZY AWESOME season he had last season?

    people, stop, the DQ project is coming to a close.

    “.”

    • Kreider is TOO close to Mika, so take what he says with that in mind. I don’t think he benched him for working hard, he benched him because he’s pressing and it’s affecting his game. Consider he gave him a breather, a pause … it wasn’t punishment. I understand where DQ was coming from with that move. We can agree or disagree with the action, but we shouldn’t question the reasoning behind it.

  • I thought the benching was well timed deserved and the team responded. You can’t compare Howden’s expected production to Zibenajad’s. 20 games is a pretty long leash and jeez it was only 10 minutes.

  • Rangers are a few pieces away from Really contending, and they need a center and another forward or 2 if i were the Rangers I’d get Rid of smith to me he’s always taking stupid penalties and play’s good sometimes and most of the time’s is in no man’s land, they also need a enforcer who can scrap with the best of them and quinn i don’t Really like his approach for his team if the Rangers don’t make the playoffs this year i think he’s a goner period.

  • Smith is gone at the trade deadline.Johnson and Libor not here next year.
    Defense prospects arrive soon.
    RD – Schneider, Lundkvist
    LD – Jones,Robertson,Reunanen

    the above combination will be 3rd pair next year

  • Kreider is definitely the best Ranger period
    When he doesn’t score he’s in all the corners Checking To say he’s “all or nothing”, is positively degrading and totally false!! He should have been named captain last season in order to show the kids how to exhibit the professional way to play. He should immediately be named captain, today no stalling. He is one of the best players in the league who plays to a hockey and I think the New York rangers brass knows it. If only the couch Quinn, recognizes the gem the Rangers have. He is the ultimate professional on and off the ice. Elevate him to Captain and you will get greater production from him as well as the rest of the current team. I know that the youngsters will have less pressure on themselves and it will resonate in their play. I’ve been a Rangers fan since the Emile Frances Era. Never have I seen so much potential in a team; including the ‘94 Cup Winners
    As a season ticket holder I Implore you to strongly consider my suggestions.

  • The more I read Tyler’s articles the less I want to. Quinn doesn’t exactly blow my hair back either but man, I couldn’t disagree more with your benching take. Quinn has given him 20 games to snap out of it and his game just hasn’t materialized. Sitting him a few shifts is unconscionable to you when his line gets shelled for 6 shots against and none for in the 1st? But hey, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Just hope everyone remembers if your gona give the coach the blame when things go wrong then you gota give him credit when things go right. Pointing to Quinn for everything is just lazy, players need to be held accountable too.

    • I saw the benching as a pause. Mika is pressing right now, this benching gave him some time to “reset” his game, in game.

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