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Rangers Vs. Lightning: Result-Driven Analysis

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NHL: New York Rangers at Tampa Bay Lightning Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
  • For the life of me I have no idea how people watched that game and thought “wow the Rangers played with a ton of energy and hustle,” or “that fight really sparked the Rangers,” or “the Rangers played a great game.” The Rangers were thoroughly dominated; 59% to 41% in shot attempts and on the wrong side of 2.00 to 1.04 in expected goals. That Antti Raanta needed to stand on his head in what might be a top-three goaltending performance this year is ignored. He’s the goalie, so that’s his job, but also recognize that demanding that type of a performance isn’t the best thing in the world.
  • A lot of people said “NYR won what do you care?” Let’s play a game then. You’re at the casino and you get two kings in a game of blackjack. Does hitting (and lucking into an ace) make it a good decision? It does not, because nine times out of ten you’re going to bust. That’s what last night is like. The Rangers won, they got the two points and that’s great, but that is not the type of hockey you should want the Rangers to be playing night in and night out.
  • I talked about Tanner Glass extensively yesterday. Mike has a piece going up on him this afternoon. I am not going to go after him as long as he’s replacing the likes of Matt Puempel and Brandon Pirri. The moment he comes in for Pavel Buchnevich or Jimmy Vesey (so, as soon as Jesper Fast and Michael Grabner are back) I’ll complain.
  • However, the ideology that he injected life into this team isn’t all that true. The Rangers played a “physical” first 10 minutes, he got into a fight and then nothing happened. Steven Kampfer got run into the boards with a viciously dirty hit because enforcers don’t actually prevent anything, the Lightning still threw hits and the Rangers didn’t have any real energy after the first 20 minutes. Maybe toughness without skill doesn’t actually do anything. Maybe Glass isn’t here to score goals, but taking away a roster spot from someone who can (I’m talking about when he’s in the lineup still even though everyone is healthy) doesn’t help. On either side of the ice.
  • How can it exist that Alain Vigneault is a spectacular coach without flaws and that this team needed Tanner Glass to get the guys going? They shouldn’t both be able to exist at the same time, right?
  • Also, how was that hit on Kampfer not a five-minute major. From behind? Check. Defenseless player facing the boards? Check. Head into the boards? Check. Oh wait, it was a head injury? Player safety gives a pass.
  • I’m not to hear a word of complain about Rick Nash for at least three weeks. He was a dominant force last night for 60 minutes. He drove to the net, crashed said net and did everything but score. So he sucked. But heed my warning. Not a word.
  • Have I talked about Raanta yet? What a frigging game from him. He was spectacular, and even out shined Nash which is really saying something. The New York Rangers featuring Benoit Allaire are a breeding ground for outstanding goaltending. The Rangers are going to have to figure out what to do with him and soon.
  • The power play is still a disaster. We knew reinforcements weren’t coming when Washington landed Kevin Shattenkirk but maybe sitting Adam Clendening for Kampfer doesn’t help there. But I digress.
  • Eye test LOVED Buchnevich last night. Had a few incredible passes, shot the puck into the goalie’s chest on a glorious chance of his own and played a good game. Analytically he was a 35% corsi. His linemates (Mika Zibaned and Nash) were at 39% and 34% respectively so maybe it was a line thing. Lots of quick breaks there.
  • Brady Skjei didn’t seem deterred by his new partner (although Kampfer barley played). He led the team in possession, played a great transition game and had a few chances of his own. His growth has been spectacular.
  • Mats Zuccarello and Derek Stepan were on a 2-on-1 at one point and I wondered if they had enough time to flip a coin to see who had to actually shoot.
  • Thoughts on this guys?