Disallowed goals cost Rangers in loss.

The Rangers lost to the Columbus Blue Jackets last night, am opponent the Rangers should beat 9 times out of 10. To some, losing to a team that isn’t destined to make the playoffs is considered a bad loss. That’s fair, as the Rangers are a better team. However last night was not a bad loss. In fact, if you looked up the definition of a “good” loss in Websters, they’d point to last night’s 5-3 loss by the Rangers in Columbus.

Let’s start with the easy evidence. The Rangers had 71 shot attempts to Columbus’ 39, a whopping 65% advantage. The Blueshirts controlled the game from the start, and were met with a combination of bad luck, poor officiating/poor rules implementation, some bad mistakes, and some bad goaltending. In losses, you want to see proper process. This was still proper process.

To the detractors who say Thursday’s win was a mirage, I pity you. To be unable to see what is clearly in front of you to paint your own narrative must be the best kind of ignorance there is. The Blueshirts controlled the game, had two goals disallowed in the first ten minutes, were missing Ryan Lindgren, are still in their learning curve portion of the season, and got an off night from their all-world goaltender. It took a perfect concoction of maladies that resulted in this loss.

On the two disallowed goals, they were properly disallowed by the definition of the rules. It’s how the rules are written. The Rangers were a millimeter offside on the first disallowed goal, and Chris Kreider was very offside on the second goal. Focusing on that second goal, the one that I have a true problem with, Columbus had full possession of the puck before turning the puck over. Kreider had nothing to do with it. Once the defending team has possession, it should no longer be offside. It is today, and those are the rules, but that would be a nice rule change.

It’s likely the two disallowed cost the Rangers more than on paper. By pure math, the two disallowed goals make it a 5-5 game. There’s more to it, as both goals came in the first period and would have given the Rangers a commanding 3-0 lead on the Blue Jackets. Mentally, that does something to both teams, and perhaps we are having a different conversation.

Beyond that, it was a rare off night for Igor Shesterkin. Those happen. The Blueshirts were also without Ryan Lindgren, and we’ve seen they don’t play their best without him. Erik Gustafsson was serviceable, if flawed, on the top pair. Zac Jones and Braden Schneider were exploited and had a rough night. Two kids, one a rookie, getting forced into matchups against the Boone Jenner line will do that sometimes.

On the bright side, Peter Laviolette did not blow up the lines like his predecessors would have. Instead, he let them ride it out, knowing they were mostly dominating the game. This is a sign of things to come, as we know no hockey team is perfect. Even after their learning curve, the Rangers will make mistakes. That’s just a part of the game. Laviolette showed us that he’s not going to panic over some poor luck and goaltending.

Losses like last night will happen. Effort was not the question. Execution, for the most part, was not in question. The Rangers were never going to go 82-0, or 81-1. Tape will be reviewed, mistakes will be reviewed, and the Rangers will go home on Monday and blow the doors off a Coyotes team that just beat the Devils.


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