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Rangers Vs. Flyers: Trust The Process Not The Result III

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Philadelphia Flyers v New York Rangers Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images
  • This is the third installment of “trust the process not the result” that probably could have had a couple more but sometimes I forget this is an option. Basically, for those who are new to the game, this is saying “the Rangers played really well, deserved to win and lost anyway.” Sometimes that’s hockey.
  • The Rangers had a 61-41 shot attempt advantage, 30-22 in scoring chances and 3.12 to 2.32 in expected goals. The Flyers scored a power play goal (and a dirty one at that) then scored again when the Rangers tried to open the game up to get the tying goal. The Rangers also hit a slew of posts, got stoned by Steve Mason a few more and then — when they desperately needed offense at the end of the third -- got too fancy and didn’t generate anything.
  • As frustrating as losing a game you deserved to win is, the latter of that paragraph is the hardest thing for me to swallow. This isn’t the first time the Rangers have dissolved into this fancy, perfect goal team when the pressure is on and they need goals. For an offense this gifted, that’s wholly unacceptable. And sadly, when this happens often enough, it falls on the coach and the coaching staff. I don’t know who is in control of the “we’re down by a few in the third and we need goals” situation, but Alain Vigneault needs to get control of the situation. It would be one thing if they at least generated shots and still lost, but the Rangers passed themselves to death in the final two minutes. Stanley Cup contenders don’t do that very often.
  • Brandon Pirri and Matt Puempel continued their little dance of “who is going to be the last guy cut when everyone is healthy” Wednesday night. Puempel (as I speculated) seems to be miles ahead of Pirri in the trust department. Pirri (who played third least of any player at even strength) was second in possession (66%) but continued to miss the net at key moments.
  • Puempel played better than Pirri, had a few good chances and does seem to be working well with Derek Stepan. I’m not thrilled with him holding onto this top-six role long term (it feels very Jesper Fast-y, but with more offensive talent), but for now whatever.
  • Michael Grabner might have been the Rangers best forward (followed closely by Pavel Buchnevich), hit the post twice and got stoned another time. Rough luck but it happens.
  • Buhcnevich made a perfect pass to Nash who didn’t score thanks to a glorious Mason save. He also happens to be the only player who seems to both want to make the perfect pass and be able to do it. He moves the puck in impossible ways and is a joy to watch. Also:
  • The Adam Clendening - Brady Skjei pairing did the thing again. This will be broken up next Tuesday when Marc Staal returns and Clendening is sitting as a healthy scratch.
  • The game-winning goal came off a calamity of errors. Grabner turns the puck over, Dan Girardi is right in front of Henrik Lundqvist literally facing him and J.T. Miller came in late. Of course, in Crabby Land, nothing is allowed to be Girardi’s fault so him not facing the puck is somehow good defense. I’m sure we’ll see the posts about it soon.
  • Speaking of Lundqvist, another outstanding game from him. He did more work than you might think because of the possession stats, but the Rangers did leave him out to dry often enough that he had to be great. 1.50 GAA in his past four games, for the record.
  • I think the offense did a really good job of keeping the puck and creating (at least through the first 40 minutes) but I felt as though they spent a lot of time behind Mason. That’s not the worst thing in the world, but when you can’t move the puck to the middle or into prime scoring areas it’s an issue. It’s not often I have that complain, but the Rangers were doing too much work deep in the zone.
  • The All-Star break now runs until Tuesday. Ryan McDonagh is the Rangers lone representative. Still can’t believe Grabner didn’t get the nod but, whatever. The Rangers will have a while to stew on this one.