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courtesy of NHL.com

Aaaaand let the waiting game begin. The Rangers had their first opportunity to clinch that all-important playoff spot and failed to do so, losing an absolute stinker to the Ducks, 6-3. Poor defense, offensive zone turnovers, blah goaltending and the inability to play a 60-minute game plagued the Blueshirts in this one, causing us to have to wait at least one more day to clinch. I know that the playoffs are pretty much a 100% certainty at this point, but I still just want to get it done so that the Rangers can use these last few games to tune-up for the tournament. As usual, stats and all that good stuff are courtesy of NHL.com.

Quick Stats:

First Period Scoring-

  • 5:54 NEW YORK GOAL Rick Nash; Assists: Marc Staal, Mika Zibanejad
  • 8:55 ANAHEIM GOAL Patrick Eaves; Assists: Cam Fowler, Ryan Gretzlaf
  • 14:32 NEW YORK GOAL Derek Stepan; Assists: Chris Kreider, Mats Zuccarello
  • 18:00 ANAHEIM GOAL (PP)  Ryan Kesler; Assists: Ryan Gretzlaf, Cam Fowler

Second Period Scoring-

  • 9:39 ANAHEIM GOAL (SH) Josh Manson; Assist: Ryan Gretzlaf
  • 13:10 NEW YORK GOAL Brady Skjei; Assists: Jimmy Vesey, Mika Zibanejad

Third Period Scoring-

  • 2:19 ANAHEIM GOAL Andrew Cogliano; Assist: Ryan Kesler
  • 4:23 ANAHEIM GOAL Patrick Eaves; Assists: Rickard Rakell, Ryan Getzlaf
  • 18:22 ANAHEIM GOAL (EN) Nick Ritchie; Assist: Corey Perry

Three Stars- 

  1. Ryan Getzlaf, ANA: 4 Assists
  2. Cam Fowler, ANA: 2 Assists
  3. Patrick Eaves, ANA: 2 Goals

 

Impressions:

  • Henrik Lundqvist has made a habit of having mediocre-at-best games after long absences, and this game was no exception. Yes, he didn’t get enough help from his defense and was facing a fairly hot Anahem team, but when you give up 5 goals, there’s plenty of blame to go around. I’m not overly worried about this performance because, as I’ve said, with the playoff spot all be sealed the number one priority is just getting Hank the reps he needs to get back to top form. And I know that his performance might stoke the goalie controversy flames (and I’ll admit that I threw a big of gas on it myself in the last blog) but no need to panic. If it’s 3-4 more games of this, then yes, I will entertain the conversation.
  • Offensive-zone turnovers killed the Rangers tonight. Zibanejad, Grabner and McDonagh all committed turnovers in the opponent’s end zone that directly led to goals. Mika’s was the worst, as he blindly passed the puck to the point on a power-play, which ended in an odd-man rush and shorthanded goal for Josh Manson. That shit might work when you’re playing NHL 17, but you can’t do it in real life. And the other two turnovers were just results of soft play. The Rangers need to be stronger on the puck, not get pushed off of it, and take better care in their possession. 
  • Ryan Kessler called up Toronto and activated the “Screw the Rangers” button. Maybe he has a cousin who works in the war room or something. The guy singlehandedly got away with murder. He deflected his 1st period goal in with a high stick and then interfered with Mats Zuccarello in the 2nd period, which didn’t allow Zucc to pick up Josh Manson on the shorthanded goal. Ridiculous. And of course all this shit happens under the watchful eye of Chris Rooney. I have to say, terrible job by him tonight. He and his crew let Kessler run wild and then made sure to blow the play dead inexplicably on the waved-off Vesey goal. I haven’t liked him since the 24/7 Rangers vs. Flyers Winter Classic documentary, when I first learned about how much Rooney loooooves the sound of his own voice. He probably thinks the cameras are still following him. Such a weenie.
  • Kevin Klein came back and played a solid 20 minutes of hockey, and managed an even +/- rating. Not bad at all, considering what a clunker the game was. I liked AV’s move here, playing Kleiner and allowing Girardi to rest his ankle in the 2nd of back-to-back games. I think Klein should keep his spot in the lineup, but I also want to see G play. My solution is to sit Nick Holden. He’s been good for us this year, no doubt. But, I truly believe he’s fizzled out. Case and point, he got caught up on the side boards and left his partner, Marc Staal, to battle 2 Ducks on the Patrick Eaves’ 1st goal. Then, he throws the puck out in front of his own net from the trapezoid, which nearly led to another Eaves goal. I get that pro athletes can sometimes be late bloomers, but I think he’s starting to show the reason why he’s only played like 200 games at 29 years of age. I realize that neither Girardi nor Klein have lit the world on fire this year, but they have the experience and know what it takes to get the job done when the games get tighter in the postseason. I think they both have a much greater probability of raising their games than a guy who is only a few years younger but has played 1/3 the amount of games. 
  • Although the defense was poor in this game, the offense continued to suggest that it could be on the cusp of a full-on explosion. Rick Nash scored yet another goal that trickled through the goalie. It’s the type of goal that only goes in when things are going well for a player, so I think we’re at the beginning of one of Nash’s hot streaks. Couple that with another goal for Stepan and 2 more assists for Mika Zibanejad, and you have a recipe for some strong, deep scoring from these Rangers. Now if only AV could figure out what’s ailing the Hayes line…
  • I have to give it up to Ryan Getzlaf. He had a hell of a game, tallying 4 assists. I absolutely love his game. He’s a straight-line, North-South, no visor, no bullshit, gritty, scoring center. He’s the epitome of old-time hockey. Guys like him are disappearing from the game, only to be replaced by ballerinas like Sidney Crosby. It’s a damn shame.
  • Fear the Beard. Patrick Eaves and his insane facial hair ate us alive in this matchup and now we have to face the godfather of NHL facial hair, Brett Burns, on Tuesday. God help us.