Rangers Vs. Blackhawks: Streak Snappers

  • Over the course of the Rangers since snapped six-game winning streak, the power play had been running at a 42% success rate. That was clearly a figure that wasn’t going to remain that high, and things crashed down to earth against Chicago, where the Rangers three power plays were as bad as I’ve seen all year. Disjointed. Unable to set up. Off by a hair at its best. None of that is surprising or really an issue. Sometimes things don’t go your way, you don’t get the bounces, and you have an off night. What I think the lack of a power play did show, however, was just how much the Rangers were leaning on it when they were on their winning streak. On the podcast last week Mike called it a “parachute” and that comparison was quite evident Wednesday night.
  • And really, when the power play went 0-for-3 in the first with the team up 1-0 (including blowing a double minor) the Rangers lost a lot of their momentum. The offense did create chances 5v5, but Corey Crawford was very good.
  • Speaking of goalies. Henrik Lundqvist did get (and should have gotten) flack for the soft game-tying goal he gave up to Alex DeBrincat. That can’t be the only thing you focus on, though, because Lundqvist was otherwise very good. From that moment forward, Chicago started crushing the Rangers in possession and scoring chances. There’s nothing Hank could have done about the next three goals. All of them were prime slot opportunities where the defense was doing something but that something wasn’t defending.
  • Top to bottom, the defense hovered between OK and bad. Ryan McDonagh, Kevin Shattenkirk, Brady Skjei, and Nick Holden all got victimized for goals in the third period. Marc Staal — who has been solid all year — had probably his worst game of the year. Steven Kampfer was the Rangers worst defenseman (28% corsi, -9 in scoring chance differential, and a 33% expected goals for percentage) but was still somehow out on the ice with an empty net down two. Uh, yeah, I don’t have anything for that, either.
  • The good news? We’re probably getting Brendan Smith back Friday. Probably.
  • The KBZ line got tons of time and space early, and then got far less time once the Rangers started falling behind. This makes no sense to me. Chris Kreider (13 minutes), Pavel Buchnevich (14 minutes), and Mika Zibanejad (15 minutes) all played less than Jimmy Vesey. I mean ... /

Yeah. Don’t want that out there down some goals late.

  • In other questionable decisions ... /
  • So here’s the thing: The officials were correct to not blow the DeBrincat goal dead even though it was stuck in Hank’s pads for about a second. I am in full agreement there. However, how in the world does Hank not get that call, but Crawford does get a remarkably quick whistle on what should have been a second Zibanejad goal in the third? I’m not saying there’s some tinfoil hat conspiracy here, but the officiating has to be better and more consistent than that. Especially since the whistle DID blow before DeBrincat’s puck crossed the line. You can’t pick and choose intent to blow. You either did or you didn’t, and if you’re going to go back in the moment for Chicago, then you have to do it for New York.
  • Kevin Hayes has slowly become a very dependable player on the penalty kill and in his own zone. He also scored a goal. Rick Nash continues to do everything right, and now he’s starting to score, too. Good to see.
  • Final non-game point: Some of the better Rangers blogs out there (us and Blue Seat Blogs specifically) have been called out for “rooting for the team to lose” because of our criticism. Criticism of the team or aspects of the team is not the same as hoping the team loses. I cannot make that more clear. And I know you guys know that. Just be aware of who and what you’re reading. /