Game Wrap-ups

Rangers surprise us all, win finale against the Bruins

Just two weeks ago, this could have been a better game. But then, it wasn’t. Then we thought the Rangers would be a no-contest against the Bruins in the finale. And while the scoreboard was close through two, the Bruins were basically cruising. Then the third period happened and the Rangers shocked us all with the win.

The Bruins controlled the action from start to finish, which wasn’t a surprise. The Rangers more or less were bailed out by Keith Kinkaid until he got hurt. Then the Bruins got a bit lazy on defense, allowing a few cross ice passes for goals. Perhaps the Bruins were just looking ahead, which is fine.

Rangers 1, Bruins 0 – Screen time

They say screen time is bad for your brain. But not here. Tuukka Rask didn’t even react until the puck was behind him. Great screens, and great wrister from K’Andre Miller. Brad Justin Richards gets his first NHL point here.

Bruins 1, Rangers 1 – Live boards

The initial shot was put wide purposefully, which took Keith Kinkaid out of the play, and left the far side open for the put back.

Bruins 2, Rangers 1 – Defensive zone turnover

Defensive zone turnovers kill. That’s all there is. David Pastrnak made Pavel Buchnevich pay.

Rangers 2, Bruins 2 – That was pretty

One last pretty goal to end the season. Three Royal Road passes.

Rangers 3, Bruins 2 – Those hands

Alexis Lafreniere has some silky smooth hands to finish this. It was another great passing play, with one last Royal Road pass from Anthony Bitetto to Laf for the finish.

Rangers 4, Bruins 2 – Kravvy Time

Great job by Zac Jones to jump in off the face off to get the puck deep. Then Ryan Strome did what he’s been doing for two years, getting the puck, reading the play, and finding Vitali Kravtsov in the slot.

Rangers 4, Bruins 3 – Powerplay goal against

Tarmo Reunanen with the giveaway on the PK, then lost his man. Can’t do that to Brad Marchand. To be fair, Marchand did make a great play to knock this out of mid-air. Then again, it was Reunanen-Libor Hajek on the PK. So yea.

Couldn’t find a video of this one.

Rangers 5, Bruins 3 – Icing on the cake

Turnover, Royal Road pass.

Rangers 5, Bruins 4 – Slot deflection

Patrice Bergeron found the hole in the defensive coverage, like he usually does. Then it was just a good pass and a better deflection.

No video on this one either.

Shot Heatmap – Again expected

I don’t know what else anyone could have expected from this game. The Bruins controlled this from start to finish. Yet the Rangers won by taking advantage of some sloppy third period defense by the Bruins.

Skater Results – Bad

Again – expected. What wasn’t expected was the score. I’ll take a pleasant surprise to close out the season.

It’s amazing how things changed over the course of two weeks. There was a possibility these games meant something. Then not only were they meaningless, they were basically no-contests. The Rangers dressed a Wolf Pack roster, but they did find a way to beat the Bruins in the finale. What a weird end to a weird season.

Charts from Natural Stat Trick and Evolving-Hockey.

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  • Nice to send DQ away with a win in Bahston for his last game coaching the Rangers. In Drury we trust (hopefully he presses the right buttons). LGR!

  • after the dust settles, there is a promising future. if quinn had coached the season as he did the finale it could have been better, hope he learned something .

  • The saving grace would be for Fox to win the Norris and for Quinn to be an ex-Ranger coach.

  • Just another sloppy game, at least the result was pleasant … and for all the fawning over Miller, he’s regressed the last few weeks without Trouba — which is starting to make me think Trouba is truly much more valuable than the points he puts up, well certainly the physical aspect of his game is more valuable, but his seemingly calm attitude as well. same for Lindgren, Fox hasn’t looked himself … but again, look who he is playing with.

    Glad Kravs put one in … and Lafreniere was one of the few bright spots over the course of the last two weeks (as well as Barron who should never see the light of the AHL again). Don’t think Laffy is going to be one of those 110-120+ point guys, but he will be a PPG+ guy who is sound defensively while playing a physical game — very impressed with his improvement over the course of the year … now if we could just get the kid some PP time. Jones looks like he can develop into a nice player, but I still think we need more of a Robertson-type.

    I still believe we need to work more so on the margins. Get me a very physical heavy vet d’man for next year, replace PDG and Blackwell with two heavy forwards — maybe even Rooney with a big C who can win faceoffs. Hire a faceoffs skills coach Sprinkle the lineup with some toughness, let guys like Laffy, Kakko and Kravs get stronger and hopefully a little meaner over the summer, same for K’Andre.

    • Well said. Agree with most of your analysis, other than I want Smith to be that vet D, assuming he comes at an acceptable (read: cheap) price. With Trouba, Lindgren and who knows, maybe a surprise out of Scheider or Robertson, the D will not need heavy.

      The O will need heavy though. It’s going to be tough to figure out who of our fancy dancers goes though. I keep thinking Z, based on the return. Maybe Strome, but I really really like the way that guy has manned up lately. Keep Chytl because that is a guy who could explode. Also keep Buch, no brainer there. It’s going to be tough to alter the forward lines toward more grit, and I hate to say it but you all know it anyway, the east/west thing runs through the Bread Man. Rangers have to find a way to keep Bread being Bread but also toughen up the balance of 4 lines.

      3rd and 4th lines will be addition by subtraction removing the void known as Howden. Maybe trade (from our D surplus) for a serious 2 way grit guy on the 3rd line and sign some grit/muscle for the 4th line.

    • Agree that KM regressed, but his season as a whole was a positive surprise.

      And when he does make a mistake, especially up ice, he seems to have a knack, with his skating and long reach, to often recover and mitigate the damage.

    • i agree about miller but the athletic ability for a ROOKIE, unreal. also all the d-men have been mixed/ matched with other guys each nite, tough to remember who your playing with nite to nite. he does need to be a tad more physical along with the rest of team. kravs’ skating ability and knowing where to be impresses me.

    • Zib is pretty good but I know what you’re saying.

      And, Lafren will make that claim, at some point.

      • Yeah it’s easily Panarin, Zib and Fox as the best players on the team.

        Buch comes maybe second or third for the next tier lol.

        If Buch was for real, he would have taken advantage of playing next to a elite sniper center for the last three years.

        • But Buch is the best all around player on the team, IMO. Plays both sides of the ice effectively.

          I was screaming for him to be on the PK, and when he finally got his chance, he did not disappoint me.

          • No way!!! Zib overall is superior to Buch’s “two-way” play. Panarin’s ability to read a play in the dz and intercept the puck to bring it down the other way makes him a better two-way player.

            Buch isn’t in the class of outshinning most top line center’s dz game lol. He wasn’t anything special in terms of shorthanded production. He won’t be pushing down any legit penalty killer’s on a contender or seasonal team
            that is for sure.

            AV has tried him on there before and Quinn did as well at first. This time he had no choice but by default to use him there for the long term.

          • Krav is probably already just as good or better than Buch.

            – Buch was really nothing special and deff not the better of the “all around player” on this team.

          • Ok, I can see Zib, point taken. But Buch’s play is very under rated by Ranger fans.

            Like you. 🙂

          • “Like you”

            ^ You mean how Pionk vs Trouba. Go Winnipeg fans about that one on Reddit.

            Buch still can’t pick up the trailer during 5v5… He has a long way to go before he can even reach Zucc status of being a try hard in the dz.

          • How’s Hayes, Avery? Not too good from where I’m sitting. Buchnevich is twice the player at less cost. Hayes’ game is flatter than his beer.

  • Good on the Rangers!! Tried hard till the end! Shame on the nhl player endangerment department and the always very incompetent Parros.
    Bettman should be embarrassed and ashamed of what he allows and fosters. I guess we will have to supply our own on ice safety department next season. Hope you like us then Bettman, you POS!!!

  • Good to finish up on a win. Also nice to see vets and young kids get on the scoreboard. Staying positive in this off season. My off season wish list – not to many changes. Would love to keep Laffy Kakko Kratsov. Add a big bodied center, 4th liner winger and a defenseman. Add an experienced NHL coach.

  • mika doing what he does best–scoring in meaningless and/or blowout games–and enough with the hugging after you score, it’s an embarrassment.

  • Barron should be on the 4th line next year, with 2 players from somewhere else. We need a tough defenseman for the 3rd line. That’s 3 new players. Finally we need a center who can replace Strome or Chytil and win face-offs. So 4 different hard working players and I think we need a new coach who has a system that works and players need to play harder. Libor needs to go. Maybe Smith would come back as a #7 defenseman and a 4th line fill in if injury. What else can we do really? Dolan thinks we need a complete overhaul. Most don’t. Rangers have a lot of talent but something is wrong.

    • If Dolan thought we needed a complete overhaul then he wouldn’t think we should be in the playoffs and underachieved.

  • Its official..Torterella will not be back with Columbus. Says hes not retiring, just movin’ on. Just putting it out there

  • The game was enjoyable although the defense could have been tighter. The Hartford players didn’t contribute much scoring but I thought they tried hard to work within Quinns unusual system or lack of it. Its hard to imagine that these fill in players will be here next season but perhaps Barron will get a shot. The team is already overloaded with passive “finesse players” so some guys will be traded. Chytil, Blackwell, Rooney, Deguiseppi, and Howden are all expendable so who moves in?

  • BTW, FINALLY, the first indication that Zib’s very slow start was Covid related (ah, duh).

    Quinn saying that Zib’s slow start was expected given the circumstances.

      • For Eichel, if he’s available, IMO: Kakko, Chytil, Robertson or Jones, and a first.

        But what’s funny is that Buffalo is in a rebuild, so why trade your 24 year old Captain? Unless he wants out.

        But, the Rangers will get huge competition from LA, especially if they offer to top prospect centers.

          • well, if the Rangers go this route, and based on Dolan’s blood letting of the regime that preached patience, and, assuming that Jack is available, the Rangers will be “all in” on Jack.

            and with the Kings being a formidable competitor for Jack, with a bunch of young centers in their org, it will cost the Rangers, big time.

            and, once again, the Rangers very bad stance on drafting centers will bite them in the butt.

          • Jack Eichel = Eric Lindros/Barry Beck redux. Saviors that weren’t. However, Messier was. For the record I am all for Eichel.

        • “Kakko, Chytil, Robertson or Jones, and a first.”

          That has more or less been my proposal these past few months. Kakko is the only “L” that we would be taking. The way I see it, this team doesn’t have the top 6 center’s to work with him shift per shift.

          I would gladly give a extra 1st and second or someone like Barron for an Eichel/Zib experience.

          • My feeling is that the Rangers like Krav better than Kakko. Better all around game and Krav’s skill level is probably slightly better too.

            So I think that the Rangers try to keep him.

          • Out of the current kids on the roster, the only one I see going is Chytil…really hasn’t shown the progress that I think they were looking for… Too easy to play against for that size, overhandles the puck constantly, and doesn’t make his line mates better. The only problem is, he alone is not gonna fetch much..its gonna take a package with another significant asset to get something worthwhile.

          • Chytil really hasn’t gotten a true chance to show what he can do, on a long-term basis.

            But if the Rangers go for Jack, then I would think that Chytil is the first piece for that deal. He would have to be, for the Sabres to get a center back.

          • Unless he has a totally different aspect to his game than just entering the zone, going wide, and, most time, over-handling the puck, I think we’ve got a pretty good handle on him. On a good team with 2 top lines, he could really flourish as that 3rd line center..but the Rangers have needs..and I think he will be one of the assets used to fill them

          • Few trades are made today that don’t involve some sort of cap adjustment. $10M for Eichel versus 3 or 4 cost controlled players doesn’t make a whole lot of sense … which is why I would think it would be Strome before Chytil.

          • no no no to eichel . it would be horrible !!!!—- Barkov would be the one but probably unattainable.

  • Drury has indicated in his interview that he is a proponent of analytics and often converses with Valli. If true, then we can probably say good-bye to Howden, Hajek and … Quinn.

  • A big hell NO to Torts, Julien, Tocchet Babcock! The only retread who I think is a good coach is Galant . His two issues is that he doesn’t like to play the kids and he doesn’t stay too long in any of his jobs. Tells me there is something there that isn’t going to make him our coach.

    I would not be shocked if Drury brings in a current NHL assistant coach for the position. Someone like Andrew Burnette of the Panthers who is young, has experience in player development and works now under who I consider to easily be the best coach in the game. I think Knob has chance too. But in my view, look for a coach to be named who has a similar career profile as Drury like Brunette.

    • Hey bro.

      I would love Gallant. You don’t like Julien? I would not be upset by him either.

      I wanted Bylsma after AV was let go.

    • Quinn gave some “I’m not going anywhere” type of vibes.

      I would take Babs over Torts. Idc what the past player’s say, those Detroit teams of 2008-13 where fun to see play. His teams always came out on top on some heavy contenders out west. They never got physically steamrolled in the playoffs. I loved how he handled his team against Tippet and the physical Yotes back in the day. He always had all of his Eruo’s playing for keeps in those series. Idc about the rumors, it’s either him or else Quinn stays.

    • I’d give Knoblauch a chance –looks like the team really liked playing for him and you could see the effort they put in, on the ice, those few games he was behind the bench. Keep J. Martin as a coach for the defense.

  • All this talk about landing Eichel. On April 14th it was announced: Jack Eichel was having surgery for a herniated disk in his neck. This is not to be taken lightly. I know a couple of people who had this procedure and it is literally a lingering pain and weakness in the neck, after surgery(no pun intended) . Is it wise to invest millions that could be used in other ways for potential long term damaged goods? Forget about Eichel as a Ranger solution, and move on to better, cheaper, and less risky options.

    • Not only the health risk—the last 4 years of his deal have a no-movement clause….so if he’s damaged goods a team will be stuck with him at $10 million a year. Agree 100% that NYR should stay away.

  • It is so frustrating that a writer like you can’t give credit when credit is due. The Rangers played excellent considering 8 rookies were on the ice. They best the Bruins fair and square. It tells me the Bruins won’t go far in the playoffs honestly. Ne season, Rangers will rule!!

  • Takeaways regarding play from the last game and the end of the season:

    Lafreniere had a good couple of weeks at the end of the season, appearing much more confident and poised and starting to get into the dirty areas. The guy has great hands.

    Kravtsov is just beginning to show us too that he will be a damn good forward for the team. The kid can be very smooth and likes to shoot it. I continue to expect good things from him.

    Kakko needs to shoot the damn puck more. Still too prone to pass the thing, but he is playing a much heavier game along the boards and around the net. I expect that the Rangers are going to try to get him to shoot! He’s got the hands too.

    Miller definitely is going to be quite good. He still is developing no doubt but he’s got the tools. Needs to start using that big body some more. He will be better if and when reunited with Trouba.

    Adam Fox is just plain terrific. Ok, he is not a big body guy who is going to play with physicality, but he has so much skill and a genius hockey I.Q.

    Igor has been brilliant in flashes. I expect him to get better, especially is stuffing some guys who come at him wide open.

    Buchnevich is a solid player and I’d lock the kid up unless you really need to use him as a piece to get another center. Speaking of centers, Strome has made the most of what he is and has been quite good. He’s not perfect, his defense is mediocre and so is his shot, but his play making has been quite good. Rangers have a difficult decision regarding him.

    It was a strange season, especially at the end. I trust that Chris Drury is a knowledgeable guy who has been involved in the development plan. Just keep that cigar smoking senior citizen away from the trade decisions, will ya?

  • My take on the season? JD and JG rightly saw the shortened 56-game season as a continuation of the “rebuild. No way the youngest team in the NHL makes the playoffs. All the talk about getting in was just setting a goal for the youngsters to work on. The real goal for the FO was exactly what they hired Quinn for — getting the kids to experience and learn how to play the pro game. In a lot of ways, it worked. Fox, Lindstrom, Miller, Kakko, LaFreniere, and finally Kravtsov and Jones, got the experience they needed.

    Yeah, there are still needs, for sure. A 1C or 2C, some serious meat on at least the 3rd and 4th line, but we don’t need the give away the store for an elite player. If we’re willing to wait a year or two, it’ll happen naturally given the level of talent we now have. Maybe replace Quinn if he stays in “Teacher” mode, but I’m not worried. This has been the most exciting season I’ve seen since the last trip to the play offs.

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