clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Rangers Vs. Islanders: Much Better. So Much Better.

Notes from the Rangers shootout loss to the Islanders.

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

- I've thrown quite a few hissy fits here about how the Rangers continuing to get their teeth kicked in with possession and still winning games is never going to be sustainable. Last night the Rangers still lost the possession battle, but it was 56-51 while scoring chances were 25-22. For the hockey the Rangers have been playing of late, that's a good game, and it came with the team getting nothing (and I mean nothing) from the top guns.

- The Rangers finally had a slew of players in positive possession territory with Oscar Lindberg leading the way with a +8. The Lindberg, Glass, J.T. Miller (he was +6) line was probably the best line of the night for the Rangers. They were physical, crashed the net and actually hemmed the Islanders in a few times. Tanner Glass also had a few chances, and just missed an open net on a glorious Miller feed.

- Dylan McIlrath. You know, the kid who needed an injury to crack the lineup? He was a +6 in possession and played a really solid game. Did he look out of place at all? If you switched his number to "8" and blurred the TV I bet you could have fooled a lot of people that was Kevin Klein.

- Speaking of possession: Rick Nash -12, Mats Zuccarello - 10, Derick Brassard -9. What's worse is all of them got 85% offensive zone starts. Woof. Woof. Woof.

- You take a game like that because 90% of the time the Rangers will find a way to win it. The top line isn't going to be that bad every night and Henrik Lundqvist takes care of his own backyard enough that you're not totally worried about some of the breakdowns. But for the Rangers to be that close in possession with their top line being such a huge detriment speaks volumes about how well they played last night as a whole.

- Why isn't Keith Yandle being used properly? I really don't understand how he's not out there to start the power play in overtime. I have no issues with Dan Boyle being on the ice there but if he's at one point in crunch time then Yandle needs to be there too. Yandle is one of the better puck moving defenseman in the NHL and the Rangers have stapled him to the bench in critical moments. I don't care that he finally made it out there for the final 20 seconds of that power play. It's almost insulting that the Rangers traded their 1A prospect for a puck moving defenseman (IN HIS PRIME) and they don't even try to utilize him properly. He's playing less time with the man advantage than he ever has in his career, and people yell and scream about him not scoring a thousand points. Maybe, just maybe, he's not being used the way he should. And maybe, just maybe, someone should ask why.

- Dan Girardi and Marc Staal were the crunch time pairing Alain Vigneault wanted late in the third. Girardi was a -5 for the night and Staal was a -8. McIlrath would have been a better option than those two. Seriously.

- I have a strange feeling Viktor Stalberg is going to get hot. Don't know why. The guy does so many little things that people don't realize. His speed makes him a monster in the neutral zone, he forechecks like a demon and he's great at moving the puck around. That goal wasn't easy, either, because he needed to react to John Tavares deflecting it first and slowing it down.

- Also, Kevin Hayes won't get one, but he deserves an assist for faking tasking the pass that threw off the Islanders defender before Staal took the shot that became the goal. Such a smart play.

- Henrik Lundqvist was really good. Not much more to add, here. Nothing you can do on a 5-on-3 goal against.

- Obligatory Tanner Glass note. I talked yesterday about how calling him up to be an emergency forward is actually kind of smart because him sitting in the press box doesn't hurt his development. He played the best game in his Rangers career last night, was a +7 in corsi and was probably one of the Rangers best forwards in the game. Doc talked on the broadcast about how he wouldn't send THAT Tanner Glass down to Hartford. Here's the two problems with that: 1) That Tanner Glass is not the Tanner Glass you get every night -- although if it was I wouldn't have any issues with him sticking around. 2) The problem has never so much been Glass as much as it's been the players who have to sit for him. Emerson Etem cannot continue to rot in the press box once he's healthy. The Rangers have a player who they need to see what he is and Glass isn't that guy. One game doesn't change the past, either. Still really good to see him play well, though.