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courtesy of NHL.com

I keep reading about some hockey game last night between our Blueshirts and the Canadiens, but I don’t believe a word of it. I really don’t think it happened. I turned on MSG and saw the Canadiens skating around, sure. I saw them shoot pucks into a net, win face-offs, and physically dominate some guys wearing blue jerseys. But a game against the Rangers? No, that didn’t happen. How could it? The Rangers never showed up. I wanted them to, we confirmed the place and time over and over, but like a bad Tinder date, they never showed up. Seriously though, last night sucked and I’m really over this inexplicable downturn in their play. Click here for a full recap, stats, quotes and all the good stuff that I will probably use later in this post, courtesy of NHL.com

Quick Stats:

First Period Scoring-

  • 12:51 MONTREAL GOAL Shea Weber; Assists: Max Pacioretty, Steve Ott

Second period Scoring-

  • 8:48 MONTREAL GOAL Artturi Lehkonen; Assists: Phillip Danault, Max Pacioretty
  • 18:37 MONTREAL GOAL Andrew Shaw; Assists: Alex Galchenyuk, Andrei Markov 

Third period Scoring-

  • 1:44 NEW YORK GOAL Chris Kreider; Assists: Derek Stepan, Mats Zuccarello 
  • 6:58 MONTREAL GOAL Jordie Benn; Assists: Nathan Beaulieu, Alex Galchenyuk

Three Stars-

  1. Carey Price, MTL: 26 Saves, Win
  2. Max Pacioretty, MTL: 2 Assists
  3. Alex Galchenyuk, MTL: 2 Assists

 

Impressions:

  • Before I even address any specifics about this game, let’s call it was it was: an absolute debacle. The Rangers didn’t do anything right. AV summed it up after the game when he said,”We had no execution. We couldn’t make a pass tonight. That’s all about individual preparation and going out there and getting yourself ready to execute. We didn’t win a lot of puck battles, and that’s on you to be ready and to compete for pucks. We didn’t win a lot, and that’s why we spent a lot of time in our zone. When we were in our zone, we couldn’t make a 10-foot pass.” 
  • One of the glaring issues in this game were face-offs. The Rangers only won 38% of them in the game and that included crucial defensive zones draws that immediately proved to hurt them. Oscar Lindberg lost a defensive-zone draw in the 1st period and in a split second, Shea Weber put the puck past Hank. The Rangers had a glimmer of hope in the 3rd, down 3-1, and then Mika Zibanejad lost a draw in his own end, which was immediately put in the net by Jordie Benn. The futility at the dot is backbreaking. 
  • One-on-one battles were another area in which the Rangers failed spectacularly. For instance, a lot of people blame Hank for the Lehknonen goal because he poked the puck into the corner, seemingly leaving it in a spot for Montreal to retrieve it and attack. I blame Ryan McDonagh for this goal. He goes to play the puck in the corner and is pushed off of it by Max Pacioretty way too easily. If he fights a little harder against the contact there, the resulting goal probably isn’t scored. The other example of our lack of effort in this area was the Andrew Shaw wraparound goal. Brady Skjei was literally skating in parrallel with Shaw and let him deposit the puck in the net, untouched. It wasn’t as if Brady lost the one-on-one here; he didn’t even engage in it! Sure, Chris Kreider won a puck battle in front of net against Jordie Benn for the Rangers’ lone goal, but that was the lone bright spot. I’ve spoken before about how I want bigger, more physical players on this team, but if the big boys we already have won’t use their size, we’re screwed.
  • Carey Price was excellent again tonight. I think his best play of the night was the poke check on JT Miller’s 2nd period breakaway. He’s a great player and the more objective side of me is happy to see him playing at a high level after all the injuries he’s dealt with lately.
  • I’ve read all over that the Rangers losing the occasional game or two could be a good thing because it allows them to play a seemingly weak Atlantic Division team in the first round of the post season. I’ll admit that I even mentioned this myself. Well, we were all totally wrong! Montreal bulked up at the trade deadline, won all 3 games against us this year, and would be our first round matchup if the playoffs began today. So, instead of the Rangers trying to jockey for playoff position, they need to fix their game because Montreal has just showed us that there is no easy road in this year’s postseason.