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Rangers Vs. Senators: That’s Show Business

NHL: Ottawa Senators at New York Rangers Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
  • I think I’ll start by quoting myself about the final result of last night’s game since I can’t say it better than I feel I did last night.
  • The Rangers were denied an emergency recall by the NHL, with the league making the (correct in my opinion) decision that the Rangers had the cap space to recall players, and elected to use that space to trade for Patrick Kane. The real issue I have is that the league allows cap circumvention for teams who ... aren’t trying to win ... or maybe are (Tampa Bay Lightning circa two years ago) ... but mostly aren’t.
  • So the Rangers played shorthanded again. Whatever, at this point it’s become a more natural thing than the organization icing 20 players. This time at least it was just a single defenseman ... until Tyler Motte got cheap-shotted by Austin Watson and was ruled out the rest of the game with an upper body injury. Shorthanded — even moreso — and on the second night of a back to back, the Rangers just didn’t have the gas in the third. It happens, whatever.
  • If you want to take away some negativity from last night, it’s the power play. The Rangers got their looks — with a five minute major for the Watson ejection, and then a series of power plays after that — but they couldn’t connect. Gallant shifted the man advantage unit around a bit, and ran Kane on the bumper and Panarin up at the left point. Panarin ended up slotting himself on the other bumper most of the time and him and Kane moved the puck all over God’s creation, but the unit didn’t generate too much.
  • I’m not surprised by that, by the way. Kane isn’t a sniper, so he needs to get a feel for who is on the ice and how they work to be at his most effective. He made some ridiculously good small plays last night that either opened up the softer areas of the ice or led to shots. Specifically on the man advantage he has these little flicks of the wrist that just move the puck into space, or gets himself out of trouble. The power play will be fine, it just needs some time.
  • That said, I wonder if there isn’t a path forward where Vladimir Tarasenko replaces Chris Kreider on the main unit. Kreider’s value as a screener/tipper extraordinaire isn’t as needed when you have Panarin and Kane out there moving the puck enough to easily open up shooting lanes. Tarasenko would be a legit sniping threat with Zibanejad to keep even more pressure off Kane and Panarin. You can have Tarasenko run the Kreider slot spot, and then rotate out as needed to set up shooting opportunities.
  • I also think Kreider’s net front presence would work better on the second unit with the kids since that power play is a little more cut and dry and won’t be as fancy.
  • Remember when people were worried about Tarasenko lol.
  • I’m not panicking over what did and didn’t work — aside from the power play which was basically fully manned. This unit is going to look so different once they get back Ryan Lindgren and K’Andre Miller.
  • Good for Derick Brassard — who played in his 1,000th NHL game. His best years were in New York, so no surprise he burned the Rangers last night. Shockingly, I did not notice Julian Gauthier beyond his single backhanded shot on net. (He played a little over 6 minutes so that might be why.)