Rangers vs. Maple Leafs: Bah Humbug

Rangers drop final game before holiday break to Leafs.

Merry Christmas Eve, and Happy Holidays! Hoping that this season is treating you all well.

  • Saturday was another case of too little, too late as the New York Rangers fell to the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2. The game ended up being decided by an offside challenge by Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock that negated a glorious would-be game-tying goal by Michael Grabner./
  • Yes, Kevin Hayes was offside. He was cheating the line for some unknown reason, and even though he wasn’t going to be part of the play he ended up causing the goal to come back. /
  • The NHL followed the rule as it is written, and it is fine to be upset or mad. However, the Rangers shouldn’t be in a situation where they are hanging their hat on things that should have happened but didn’t.
  • I tweeted the other day that Pavel Buchnevich has been in a bit of a funk lately, and tonight he made a play that shows why he has the potential to be a special player in this league. In what felt like one fluid motion, he skated to the puck and backhanded it perfectly to J.T. Miller who picked up his seventh goal of the season./
  • Both players picked up their 25th point of the season on this play which is second-best on the team behind Mats Zuccarello’s 29 points.
  • The other goal scored by the Rangers was by Jimmy Vesey who has played throughout the lineup this year. It was a good heads up play to intercept the puck behind the net, and Frederik Andersen probably wishes he played this differently./
  • The Maple Leafs scored three goals, and it is hard to pin them on Hank. The first was a brilliant shot by William Nylander who was wide open in the right circle. The second was a blast by Ron Hainsey on the power play, and the third was a goal that shouldn’t have happened.
  • You would think the Rangers defense who have learned by now that you only need one man in the corner, but in this clip both Nick Holden and Ryan McDonagh got caught leaving Auston Matthews wide open for an easy goal./
  • After this Hank was mad, and it wouldn’t be the only time he got mad on the evening./
  • Gee, I wonder why Hank is feeling frustrated... Maybe this is why./

And this.

Oh, and this.

  • In the month of December, Hank is 5-3-1 with a 2.32 goals-against average and a .936 save percentage. He’s faced 326 shots and only surrendered 21 goals. He has brought his “A” game and at time it hasn’t been enough.
  • He is a man on an island being asked to do everything while playing at an accelerated pace. The plan in recent years has been to rest Lundqvist in the regular season for the playoffs, but that appears to be out the window. @HockeyStatMiner said it best, so here it goes./
  • In other significant news, Mika Zibanejad received only one shift in the third period. At first I thought it may have been related to his recent concussion and him feeling effects from the injury, but that wasn’t the case./
  • It is problematic that AV couldn’t work one of his top offensive players back into the rotation when the team was down a goal, but that wasn’t the straw to break the camel’s back in this game. There is a lot more that can be said, but in reality it didn’t have a significant impact on the rest of the game, nor would it have prevented the mistakes that doomed the team on Saturday evening.
  • Overall the Rangers find themselves in a dangerous spot. Hopefully the team can rest and regroup over the break because they will face a tough test against the Washington Capitals on Wednesday coming out of the break./