I attended the Rangers latest shit-show, a 2-1 OT loss, to the previously winless New Jersey Devils. Let’s put the loss into perspective. It’s October 19th. The Rangers have a long way to go until the playoffs. Does this loss hurt now? Sure. It sucks. However, with the way the Rangers have played the last few years, this game is most likely meaningless. The only thing that matters is that the Rangers get into the playoffs.
What really scares you, if anything, about this game, is that the Rangers played their third game and only netted their second goal in 180 minutes. Why is that scary? It’s scary because this is exactly what we saw last year in the playoffs. Henrik Lundqvist is having the best start he’s ever had in the regular season. He was also the best player for the Rangers in the playoffs. However, just like the playoffs, the Rangers do not score goals. After a torrid start, with 12 goals in three games, the Rangers followed up with three goals and have been scoreless on the powerplay. The Rangers, like in the playoffs, are wasting the great starts they are getting from their goaltender.
Again, I’ll save you the Henrik Lundqvist contract talk, but yeah, when a guy is making 12% of payroll, you don’t have a full four lines to produce offense. That said, when you look at the money around the league, when it comes to top forwards, Rick Nash is a complete disgrace. Dan Boyle is a waste of money. The fact that people like Tanner Glass, Emerson Etem and Jarrett Stoll are getting paid right now is a slap in the face.
As a diehard fan that watches every game and as someone who is not Lundqvist’s biggest fan (because of the contract), I feel bad for him. He’s playing just like he did in 2012, his Vezina year, but gets no support at all from his offense. The Rangers are making other goalies look like Patrick Roy in their prime. Is someone like Carey Price better than Lundqvist, right now? It’s debatable. However, Hutchinson (Jets) & Schneider (Devils) are not. The Rangers are letting points slip away because of their anemic offense and wasting Lundqvist in his prime.
Coach AV shaked up the offensive lines and D-pairings on Sunday, after two horrible skates with the Jets & Canadiens. The results, a lone Derek Stepan goal. It’s hard to pinpoint why the Rangers offense fell from the first three games to the last three games. The biggest problem, to me, is you’re not getting production from your key guys. Nash is in his A-Rod playoff form. Kreider looks hurt out there. Brass isn’t skating well. Hayes will pass the puck 100 feet behind him rather than shoot 2 feet into an empty net. Boyle is an albatross. You can see why Nashville paid Stalberg to leave. You can’t blame Lindberg for not scoring the last three games, because he’s a rookie nor being paid to be an elite goal scorer, like Rick Nash.
For Coach AV, it’s just frustrating, to think you’re making all the right moves, and watching the Rangers come up empty handed, especially when Henrik Lundqvist is playing out of his skull.This time of year is great if you like attending games. With football in full swing and the Mets in the playoffs, bougias Ranger tickets are cheap. I was able to get into the MSG suites for 10% of face value. Like the Delta Club, everything is on the arm. Free gourmet food. Free booze. Free programs. A TV screen in your seat. Bathrooms right behind you. The blog may say BLUECOLLAR, but man, I wouldn’t mind hitting the lotto and sitting here every game either! It’s nuts to see how the other half lives!
What’s driving me nuts about this recent Rangers stretch is how the ex-Rangers are doing. Anthony Duclair netted a hat trick the other night. Talbot is the best goalie the Oilers have had in years. Hagelin is playing well. The retired Dan Carcillo has the same amount of goals as Rick Nash. Lee Stempniak scores the game winner and was the best player on the ice on Sunday. Even the nearly 50 year old Jaromir fucking Jagr is scoring two goals in a game. It’s no wonder why most Ranger fans are bald and stressed the fuck out!As far as Sunday’s OT loss (mind you, the Rangers still get a point) the Rangers started off well. Stepan scored early. The defense was solid. The offense was moving the puck around and getting quality shots. Kevin Klein won a fight late in the first period. However, the next forty minutes was just a grind. Nothing was going for the Rangers besides Lundqvist bailing them out. Adam Henrique eventually broke through in the second period, knotting the game at 1-1.
After the Henrique goal, the Rangers and Devils played a stiff game. Once again, the Rangers powerplay was non-existent. The penalty kill was good, even preventing the Devils from scoring on a 5 vs 3. Again, with these Rangers, you go back to the old adage, “if you can’t score, you can’t win.”
As the clock winded down to triple zeroes in the third period, ensuring both teams a point, you just have to feel for Lundqvist. I thought Hutchinson and Price stood on their heads in the recent Ranger losses. Lundqvist was just a step slower than both, but also got no help from the pathetic offense. Lundqvist outplayed Schneider here, but once again, the offense held their dick in their hands.
In the OT, ex-Ranger Lee Stempniak, who signed with the Devils for peanuts, scored the game winning goal. Not that Stempy was a great Ranger or anything like that, but he’s sure better than what Etem, Stoll and Glass are giving you. Shit, he’s better than what Nash has been giving you.
Maybe I’m dumping on Rick Nash a lot here, but really, what the fuck? The guy is being paid nearly the same as Ovi, Crosby and Toews and gives you about 10% the production you get from those guys, especially in the playoffs. The fact that he is making top 5% of the league money but is outproduced by fourth line guys is infuriating. Nash usually starts off hot and fades away in the playoffs, but now you’re getting nothing from a guy, last season, who ranked top 5 in the league, with goals scored, during the regular season.
Who knows? Maybe when Nash buries his first goal, the goals will start coming in bunches again, like last season, but for now, Nash should be donating his contract to the Garden of Dreams foundation. You hope that Nash fixes his shit sooner than later.There’s not much more to say about this game. It’s been the same story now for three games. Lundqvist plays like a beast and watches his offense fail in front of him. As I said in the beginning of this blog, it’s October 19th, so you really can’t go bat shit. With the roster and with AV, you know the Rangers will eventually right this ship and we will be talking about the playoffs in April. For now though, it is just frustrating to watch.
Moving forward, the Rangers, who have played the most games in the league, will be visited by the Sharks on Monday and the Coyotes on Thursday. If you’re looking for cheap tickets, Monday’s game should be cheap, if you try to buy tickets off stubhub at the last second. It seems Ranger ticket prices drop whenever football is on, and with the Giants playing Monday Night Football, you should be able to sit bougias for a nice price.
To quote Mike Francesa, I should be “in duh bildin” on Thursday night. I’m looking forward to seeing Duclair. Thank god the Rangers traded him and a number one pick for a defenseman who will be gone next season. Ugh. I blame my friend GG’s brother, Jeff Gorton for this!
I’m finishing this blog, on the train to work, after a 12 hour tour at some of my normal haunts, such as “The Flying Puck” and “The Bold O’Donoghues”. I don’t want to get myself too riled up, even though I’m disgusted with the effort this team has put forward offensively, especially on the PP.
Let’s conclude this blog with the official post-game news & notes from the Rangers. Don’t know if I’ll be back Monday night, but I’m assuming most likely not, since I’ll be watching both the Rangers & Giants at the same time! I should most likely have a blog after the Duclair/Coyotes game on Thursday.
Until then, try not to fart and get too upset. Repeat after me, “IT’S OCTOBER.” October matters for the Mets right now, not the Rangers!
– FIRST IN SCORE – The Rangers have outscored their opponent, 9-2, in the first period through six games in 2015-16. In addition, the Blueshirts have tallied the first goal of the game in five of the six contests. The Rangers lead the NHL in first period goals (93) and first period goal differential (plus-37; 93-56) since the start of last season. As of the conclusion of today’s game, New York also leads the NHL in first period goals and first period goal differential (plus-seven) in 2015-16.
– DANCE WITH THE DEVIL – The Rangers have earned at least one point in each of their last eight games against New Jersey (6-0-2). New York has also earned at least one point in 11 of its last 13 games against the Devils (9-2-2).
– TAKING THE METRO – The Blueshirts have earned at least one point in 27 of their last 31 games against Metropolitan Division opponents (25-4-2). In addition, the Rangers have posted a 2-0-1 record in games against Metropolitan Division opponents this season.
– HOME COOKING – Dating back to last season, the Blueshirts have earned at least one point in 32 of their last 42 home games (26-10-6), including 15 of their last 20 home contests (12-5-3).
– TWO GOOD – New York has allowed two goals or fewer in 20 of its last 27 games. The Rangers have allowed two or fewer goals in 98 of 170 regular season games since the start of the 2013-14 season (57.6%).
– EVEN IT UP – Following today’s game, the Rangers are tied for second in the NHL in goals during 5-on-5 play (13).
– HOT AT THE DOT – The Rangers won 26 of 46 faceoffs they took in today’s game (56.5%). Five of six Blueshirts who took at least one faceoff in the contest posted a faceoff win percentage of 50% or better.
– KILL ZONE – The Blueshirts were 3-for-3 (4:25) on the penalty kill and didn’t allow a power play shot on goal against them in the contest. New York is 8-for-8 (100%) on the penalty kill over the last two games. In addition, the Rangers have killed off at least three power play opportunities in each of the last five games, as well as four or more power play opportunities in three of those contests.
– Henrik Lundqvist made 22 saves in today’s contest. In regular season games since Dec. 29, 2013, Lundqvist has played 673:43 in the third period when the Rangers have held a one-goal lead or the score was tied. In those situations, Lundqvist has posted a 1.51 GAA and a .948 SV% (17 goals allowed on 330 shots). In his last 33 regular season games (since Dec. 8, 2014 vs. Pittsburgh), the Rangers’ all-time wins and shutouts leader has posted a 24-8-1 record, along with a 1.98 GAA, a .934 SV%, and 1 SO. Lundqvist has allowed two goals or fewer in 25 of those 33 contests.
– Derek Stepan tallied a goal, recorded three shots on goal, and won eight of 15 faceoffs (53%) in 18:52 of ice time. Stepan has registered a point in each of the Rangers’ first three games against Metropolitan Division opponents this season (two goals, one assist). Since the start of last season, Stepan has tallied 30 points (11 goals, 19 assists) in 29 games against Metropolitan Division opponents. In addition, he has recorded 68 points (26 goals, 42 assists) in 77 contests against opponents in the Rangers’ division since the 2012-13 season (Atlantic Division in 2012-13; Metropolitan Division from 2013-14 – 2015-16), averaging 0.88 points per game over the span. With the goal, Stepan passed Darren Turcotte for sole possession of 50th place on the franchise’s all-time points list (256). Stepan has now registered more goals against New Jersey (11) than against any other NHL opponent, and he has notched 23 points (11 goals, 12 assists) in 25 career games against the Devils. He has recorded a goal/point in five of his last six games against the Devils, tallying 10 points (seven goals, three assists) over the span.
– Oscar Lindberg recorded his first career NHL assist in today’s contest. Lindberg has tallied a point in four of six games this season, and he leads the Rangers in points (five) in 2015-16.
– Chris Kreider tied for game-highs with four shots on goal and four hits in 17:59 of ice time. In addition, Kreider led all skaters with nine shot attempts in the contest (four on goal, two blocked, three missed).
– Ryan McDonagh posted a plus-one rating while logging a game-high 25:55 of ice time in today’s contest. The Rangers captain has logged at least 20 minutes of ice time in five of six games thus far in 2015-16.
- Alain Vigneault, New York Rangers head coach
On the team… “I do think we came out with a good energy. Good execution to the process and we weren’t able to sustain it. We knew going into this game this is a hard-working team and any team in this league is a good team. You’ve got to work extremely hard, you’ve got to be on top of your game. It should be quite obvious to our players at this time that we are not on top of ours and we need to find our game.”
On the team’s effort… “Our work ethic, I don’t think is an issue. Our execution and our game, we need to make more plays both defensively and offensively right now. We’ve got by my estimation one player that’s on top of his game and that’s Henrik Lundqvist.”
On what can be corrected… “If I had the answer I would have fixed it by now. I’m sure the players have their theory. The good thing is we’ve got an opportunity tomorrow to try and put a 60-minute game together.”
- John Hynes, New Jersey Devils head coach
On getting their first win today… “It feels great. I am really just happy for the team. I feel like we’ve gone through a lot of changes since training camp. I really credit the players’ attitudes every day. They have worked to get better and it is gratifying for our guys to get a win after all of their hard work.”
On the start to the game… “You have to credit the Rangers for their start. They put a hard press early in the game and they were really moving the puck. We didn’t handle that as well as we could have, but I think a lot of that is attributed to how well the Rangers played.”
On the play of Cory Schneider… “Cory made some big stops for us when we needed him. That’s what we expect from him, that’s the kind of team we have. Whether it was early in the game or later in the game, he was a key part in us being able to get a win.”
- Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers goaltender
On today’s game… “It felt like there was low energy in this game. Maybe it’s the way that they play; they sit back a lot and wait for mistakes and we try to play a tight game. So comparing to the earlier games where there was more speed and more energy, today was more about minimizing your mistakes and playing a smart game. Not a lot of chances. It’s disappointing, obviously. Coming home we felt like we needed to get a win here and start building more positive energy in the group, but we have another chance already tomorrow.”
On the 3-on-3 overtime… “You think you’re really close to winning the game and instead the puck goes back the other way for another big chance. That’s the way it’s going to be played, so there’s a lot of action for the fans. It’s still frustrating and disappointing to come up with a loss here. I feel like this game was right there for us. We had some opportunities late in the game but we couldn’t cash in. We will come back tomorrow with our best effort and try to turn this around.”
- Ryan McDonagh, New York Rangers defenseman
On the end of the game… “That’s kind of what we are finding out pretty fast here with experiences 3-on-3 – one team gets close and it kind of opens you up for them to get a look. They were able to capitalize and we didn’t get there 3-on-3. But we would have liked to try to get one there with those late power plays and generate some good looks. We weren’t able to get there.”
On the first period… “It was one of our better periods, a good start. Obviously with the amount of time we have with the puck there you would like to generate something, but you know it’s still a good thing that we didn’t give up chances early on. They did a good job of coming a little bit harder in the second. They were able to capitalize on one (opportunity), but I thought we recognized ourselves a little bit in the third there and tried to get it done, but we fell a little short today.”
On moving forward from today’s game… “It’s tough for you to lose in that fashion – lose on home ice to a Division team like New Jersey. You know you’ve got to continue to work hard, that’s all we can say. (We will) Look at some things both offensively and defensively, work on remaining strong and good communication in our own zone. That will lead to some offensive looks.”
- Derek Stepan, New York Rangers forward
On the game after the first period… “For whatever reason they took over and we just really weren’t able to get it back. We had some looks to bury some goals and that would’ve made a huge difference. We just weren’t able to do it today. A big thing we have to do is stay confident. You can’t starting fighting it. As soon as you do that it’s going to get worse. We just have to get better each day and be a confident group going into tomorrow night.”
On playing tomorrow… “I know that this team knows how to respond and that’s going to be the thing for us. Luckily we get to play tomorrow.”
On tonight’s game… “I think their goal lifted them quite a bit. We just weren’t able to get a response. We certainly have to find a way to get that response. We did some good things, we had some looks and at times we weren’t quite there. We’re still looking for that full 60-minute hockey game.”
- Dan Girardi, New York Rangers defenseman
On today’s game… “I think we had a great first period. We had a lot of chances, we had some good offensive zone time. Just didn’t find a way to bury a couple of chances. And then we hit a crossbar and they come back down and they score and that’s kind of the way it’s going. It’s just another tough one for us. We need to find a way to get a lead, build on it and not give it back.”
On what the team can improve… “I think win or lose there’s always something to improve on. You lose three in a row, you obviously have to think hard and dig deep and figure out what you yourself can do for the team and how we can all get together and push in the same direction, get everyone giving 100 percent and playing good. I think it’s just keeping it simple, get the puck in when we have the chance. We don’t need to make the play every time in the neutral zone, especially when we’re having a couple tough shifts.”
On the team… “I think we need to be concerned. We’re not pressing any panic button by any means but it needs to be addressed right now. We have to stop the bleeding at three (games). Every shift matters. We’re trying to find ways to win.”
- Lee Stempniak, New Jersey Devils forward
On today’s game… “It was a good win for us. They were all over us from the start of the game, totally outplayed us, especially as a group of forwards. Their defense was in the rush, beating us up the ice. We came out in the second and had a much better start and I think some of that started with Kyle (Palmieri). He got us going a little bit in the end of the first and stepped up and we were able to regroup and come out (in the second). I think we were better on the fore check – we held onto the puck more on the fore check and just as a whole our forwards started skating more and neutralizing their defensemen joining in the rush.”
On John Hynes getting his first win today… “He’s been really good all year. I have been really impressed from the first day with just how he runs practice, how he runs training camp. It’s been what, five games now? To get the first win, we’re really happy for him. He deserves it and for our group, it’s pretty important. We’ve played pretty well, had some spurts (where) we played well. I thought against San Jose we played really well and didn’t get the result we wanted, so it’s nice to get rewarded.”
- Cory Schneider, New Jersey Devils goaltender
On the team… “They’re a dangerous team with a lot of speed and depth so they’re going to get looks. But I thought we weathered the storms when we had to. A couple of big penalty kills in the third and there are a couple of big moments there. Not scoring on the 5-on-3, that could have sunk us or could’ve gotten us down. But I think each game we’re showing more and more resilience. It’s only one but I think that was a good feeling to have and hopefully one we can hang on to.”
On today’s game… “I think when you’re where we are and you haven’t won yet, we’re in a building against our rivals, we gave up an early goal, things just aren’t going our way, you have to think it’d be pretty easy to say ‘ woe is me’ and kind of fall into what’s happened. But I thought we made adjustments, we worked harder and we did what we had to do to get two points.”
See you soon!