The Rangers defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-3 on Sunday evening, however all three goals they gave up were even strength, which means it's time to break down what happened.
The first goal and third goal were the least complicated to look at. On the first, Stalberg had the puck deep in the defensive zone, with Peter Holland forechecking on him. Byron Froese swoops in, knocks the puck off Stalberg's stick, and Holland takes it to the front and scores. A simple case of not being strong on your stick, and it results in the first goal of the game. For the third goal, a shot from the point eludes Antti Raanta, who might've been screened on the play, and the Leafs tie it at three. Tough goals to give up, but they're more a product of what Toronto did than what the Rangers didn't do. Now, for the second goal...
Goal by: Joffrey Lupul (Asst - Byron Froese, Dion Phaneuf) Video
The play starts out normal enough. The Leafs dump the puck in on the near side, and the puck gets momentarily pinned behind the net. When it's knocked free, Daniel Winnik carries it around to the far side corner.
Now you can see here, all the coverages are correct. Yandle, who was just playing the puck behind the net, has support from Brassard, the center, who is in pursuit of Winnik. McIlrath is covering the front of the net, and Nash and Zuccarello are at the top of the slot covering the point. Zuccarello is doing a good job anticipating the pass, and is making a move to the half boards. When Winnik gets to the puck, he plays it up past Zuccarello to Jake Gardiner at the right point, who immediately throws it across the point to Dion Phaneuf on the left.
Now here, everything is still more or less okay. Although he is covering a man, Brassard is a little high for my taste (remember what happened with Stepan against Washington), but luckily Nash is there to cover the point, so a defenseman doesn't have to leave the front of the net to put pressure on Phaneuf. Nash does a good job getting over to cover, and Phaneuf is forced to shoot from the very top of the zone.
Here is where things get ugly. Right when Phaneuf shoots the puck, Byron Froese is able to split Yandle and McIlrath in front of the net, leaving Lupul all alone. The shot is partially blocked by McIlrath, but it bounces right to Lupul who slams it home.
Player to Blame: Dylan McIlrath
I initially was going to pin this on both McIlrath and Keith Yandle, but going back and watching the video, Lupul is McIlrath's man from the beginning. The ultimate thing McIlrath did wrong in this sequence was allow his man to get between him and the goalie. If you look from the first to second picture, Lupul comes up from behind McIlrath, gives him a little shove, and then McIlrath leaves him and does a little skate around the bottom of the hash marks as he follows the puck.
What McIlrath did
What I would rather see McIlrath do is when he sees Lupul in his peripherals, he pivot and keep Lupul in front of him. This way, you can keep your eyes on the puck and on your man, and there is a buffer between him and the goalie.
What McIlrath should've done
McIlrath is still young and learning, and I'm sure the coaches went over this very sequence with him. I doubt we see a mistake like this from him in the future.