Advertisements

Rangers lose again in the shootout; Stempniak scores against his former team

Bobby Bevilacqua

moore and klein hit malkin 11-15

Tonight’s game against the Penguins was extremely physical, bringing back memories of the playoff rivalry from last season. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

For the second consecutive game, the Rangers (7-6-4) fell in the shootout in Pittsburgh, after it appeared that Dan Boyle won the game for the Rangers. Upon further review, Boyle’s shootout goal was overturned, and the Penguins (12-3-1) walked away with their 12th win of the season.

It is yet another disappointing loss for the Rangers, who played hard but lost their sixth game in their last eight contests (2-2-4), as well as their fourth consecutive loss when the game goes to the shootout.

The rivalry was heated tonight, with tons of physicality and the atmosphere of a playoff game. Players were throwing checks and both teams had tons of chances, but Lundqvist and Fleury both made key saves to keep their teams in the game.

Lundqvist was fantastic, stopping 36 shots, as well as two breakaways in overtime, and truly deserving of a win.

In the first period, the Penguins came out strong, passing the puck well and getting a few early chances. They almost scored, after the puck got past Henrik but Boyle was there to scoop the puck out of the crease.

nash and msl 11-1

Rick Nash and Martin St. Louis have been anchored by Derick Brassard. All three members of the top line tallied a point, and have been playing extremely well this entire season. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

 

The top line of Nash, Brassard, and St. Louis came out and pressured Pittsburgh, and eventually drew a penalty, which would turn the period around for the Blueshirts.

The Penguins would strike first on a Blake Comeau one-timer, his fourth goal of the season. The shot snuck through Lundqvist’s pads, and was one that probably could have been stopped. The assists went to Patric Hornqvist and Evgeni Malkin.

But the Rangers answered back extremely quickly, answering back just 15 seconds after the Comeau goal. The Rangers won the faceoff, and got the puck into the zone, and eventually to Dan Girardi at the point. Girardi’s shot was tipped in front by the stick of Stempniak, and after Fleury made the save, Stempniak banged home the rebound for his fourth goal of the season.

Lee Stempniak goal 11-15

Lee Stempniak scored his fourth goal of the season, just 15 seconds after the Penguins have socred. Stempniak has been a very stead addition to the Rangers lineup this year. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

 

The Rangers would draw a slashing penalty shortly after, and on the ensuing power play, Martin St. Louis scored his sixth of the season, besting Pittsburgh’s penalty kill twice this season. Boyle fired a shot from the point, which Nash tipped in front and Fleury was forced to make a save. Brassard collected the rebound, and made a very smart pass to a wide open St. Louis, and he went top shelf to give the Rangers a one goal lead.

It was St. Louis’ fifth goal in seven games, and he continues to ride his hot streak. Nash picked up an assist on the play, giving him a point in 14 of 17 games this season.

Rangers celebrate a PP goal 11-15

The Rangers scored on the power play for the second time in three games. Martin St. Louis came away with a goal off of a great feed from Derick Brassard.

 

Marc-Andre Fleury made saves on Kreider and Brassard to keep the Rangers lead within one. Fleury finished with 29 saves and earned his ninth win of the season.

Stempniaks goal was big. Answering back quickly prevented the Penguins from having a huge momentum swing, and turned the period in the Rangers’ favor. Stepan also played well, and did a good job setting up plays and moving the puck.

In the second period, the game was notched up to what felt like a playoff game intensity. There was a lot more physicality, checking, and great offense and goaltending from both sides.

Both teams had good opportunities, and Henrik Lundqvist made two timely save on Chris Kunitz to keep the score at 2-1.

Lundqvist save 11-15

Henrik Lundqvist was fantastic, stopping 36 shots and truly deserving of a better fate than an overtime loss. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

 

The Rangers killed off a power play, but the Penguins would score shortly after. Dan Boyle had the puck and attempted to make a pass, but he mishandled it, and Nick Spaling got it over to Evgeni Malkin, and he fired a wrist shot that went off of Lundqvist’s glove, hit the post, and then off of Lundqvist’s back and into the net. That lucky bounce tied the game at two in the second period.

Dan Girardi had a monster period, blocking shots and shutting down the Penguins top offensive players like Crosby and Malkin. However, the Rangers were outshot 15 to six this period, which didn’t put much pressure on Fleury.

The third period showcased the long-lasting rivalry between these two teams. This period was very nasty and personal, as the two teams played with memories of the playoffs and the game earlier this week. At the end of the game, Pittsburgh would have 44 hits and the Rangers would finish with 31.

Fleury made another nice save on Chris Kreider, who was flying down the wing, and Kris Letang did a good job tying up Zuccarello on the rebound. When Pittsburgh was on the power play, Henrik stopped Crosby’s backhand shot, and then Stepan nearly scored on a shorthanded chance.

The defining moment of this period was when Malkin laid a crushing hit on Dan Girardi. After watching the replay, the hit did not appear to be high or to the head, but Malking came in with tremendous speed. Girardi had his head down when he got the puck, and Malkin came out of nowhere and checked him. The hit was legal, but the speed he hit Girardi at suggests a charging call. No penalties were called on the play.

Dan Girardi 10-16

Dan Girardi was tremendous again tonight, registering six hits and blocking three shots, as well as registering three of his own. Girardi also managed to get back out on the ice after getting hit hard by Malkin.

 

Girardi laid on the ice motionless for a bit, and was helped off of the ice. But being the incredibly tough player he is, Girardi was out for overtime.

In overtime, Crosby started off with a breakaway that was stopped by Lundqvist. Matt Hunwick fired a shot at Fleury, and he turned that aside as well as Kreider’s and St. Louis’ chances on the rebound.

Hagelin and Letang both got called for slashing, which provided a glimpse of the 3-on-3 hockey that is occurring in the AHL.

And the 3-on-3 play turned out to be AWESOME. Both teams had tons of chances, and it led to two odd man rushes. The NHL should really consider this as a possibility to try and lower the chances of a shootout.

On one chance, Chris Kreider used his speed to burst through the middle, where he was tripped by a Penguins’ defenseman. Although it looked like he had beat the defenseman, the refs did not call a penalty shot and instead gave the Rangers a 4-on-3 power play.

kreider tripped

Chris Kreider was tripped on the breakaway in overtime, and the referees awarded the Rangers with a power play, rather than what looked like a penalty shot.

 

The Rangers did not score, but when the penalty ended, as well as the penalties to Letang and Hagelin, Kris Letang was wide open for a breakaway. Henrik made an incredible glove save to keep the game tied.

Overtime ended, and the game headed into shootout, which is where the controversy begins.

Dan Boyle was up for the Rangers in the third round with a chance to win it for New York. Boyle made a great move and beat Fleury. The Rangers celebrated, and went off of the ice to the locker room. The Penguins started filing out too, until the referees decided to review the goal.

Upon further review, the puck hit the post, and then back off of Boyle’s stick, meaning that it was double contacted, negating the goal. The Rangers head to come back out on the ice, and Lundqvist had to face another shot. Brandon Sutter scored on Lundqvist, and Fleury stopped Nash, handing the win over to the Penguins.

dan boyle shootout goal no good 11-15

Dan Boyle appeared to score in the shootout and seal a win for the Rangers, but the refs reviewed the goal after the teams had left the ice and the game was signaled as over. Review showed that it was a double touched, meaning no goal. Photo courtesy of Keith Srakocic.

 

I don’t necessarily have a problem with the call, as it was technically right. The puck was double contacted which counts as a rebound. The problem I have is that the referees waited until the Rangers were in the locker room. Vigneault said himself that half of the players had their jerseys off, and half of the sticks were already packed.

To come from the mentality of winning a hard fought battle, to being told that you have to get out and make another huge save is crushing to the Rangers, and uplifting to the Penguins. If the referees wanted to review it, they should have told the Rangers before they left the ice. It was unprofessional and ruined the ending of a hard fought rivalry matchup. If you made a mistake on the ice, you own up to it. Not hand the win over to the other team.

I’m not saying it was the wrong call, just that the way it was handled was horrible.

Also, the officiating was lackluster tonight. The referees missed penalties for both teams, and obvious ones. During the game, I mostly take notes for the Rangers. The referees missed a penalty on Fleury for playing the puck outside of the trapezoid, Crosby for goalie interference (he was literally laying on top of him), a holding the stick call against Hagelin, and not awarding Kreider a penalty shot in overtime, although that one could be argued.

It’s a shame that a great game like tonight’s had to be tarnished by missed calls and controversy in the shootout.

Another thing I had a problem with was Crosby’s behavior. Almost every time the camera panned over to him, he was chirping at an official complaining about something. At one point, he even slammed his stick against the glass after tripping, angry that he didn’t get a call, which is something that almost always warrants an unsportsmanlike penalty. I found his actions extremely unprofessional.

crosby and staal 11-15

Sidney Crosby was not pleased with the referees officiating, and was shown yelling at the refs and hitting his stick on the boards numerous times throughout the night. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

 

 

There were some positives tonight. Lundqvist was stellar. He made 36 saves, and his two breakaway stops on Crosby and Letang were remarkable. Lundqvist outplayed Fleury, who also had a solid game, and he truly deserved a win tonight.

The Rangers scored on the power play again. Recently, it has shown signs of improvement, with two goals in their last three games. Dan Boyle really knows how to move the puck, and he set up the power play goal tonight, although he did not get an assist on the play.

 

The defense for New York was good. Crosby was held without a point again, something that many teams cannot claim to have done. The Rangers fourth line was paired against Crosby’s line often, and did a good job shutting him down.

The Rangers top line was great again tonight. Rick Nash and Derick Brassard both picked up assists on Martin St. Louis’ goal. Derick Brassard now has 10 points in nine games, and Nash has 19 points in 17 games so far (12-7-19).

Dan Girardi continues to impress me. Not only did he play great defensively and assist on Stempniak’s goal, he had enough courage to get back out on the ice after getting obliterated by Malkin. Girardi is an ironman and deserves a lot of credit for everything he has done since McDonagh’s injury.

Dan Girardi 10-16

How can you not like Dan Girardi after tonight. After what looked like a hit that would have caused injury, Girardi was back on the ice for the overtime. Girardi also has been tremendous defensively for the Rangers. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

 

Lee Stempniak had a successful homecoming, scoring the first goal and playing a solid game. Stempniak has been one of the steadiest two-way forwards on the Rangers this year. He now has eight points (4-4-8) in 17 games this season.

As for Tanner Glass, his night was less successful. He played good on the defensive side, blocking three shots and recording five hits, but not registering a single shot. He also wasn’t overly physical in the late periods, something that you would expect from him.

tanner glass shooting

Tanner Glass played solid defensively for the Rangers tonight, but New York will need some offense from him if they want more consistency from all four lines.

 

Fast was not noticeable either, not registering any stats outside of two hits.

Let’s face it. The Rangers will not get a lot of production from a line of Glass-Moore-Fast. Moore showed last year that he has some offensive ability in him, and has centered the third line before. Jesper Fast has not scored a goal in his career, and Tanner Glass only had four last season, one of his career highs.

If Vigneault wants more protection, he will need to start trusting players like Anthony Duclair, who has six points (1-5-6) in 12 games. Duclair has proved that he can play well on both sides of the puck, backed up by his plus-four rating. Vigneault needs to trust Duclair against top lines, especially if he is partnered with Moore and Glass, who both are good defensively.

Duclair 10-16

If Alain Vigneault wants more scoring and consistency on all of his lines, it is time for him to trust youngsters like ANthony Duclair. Duclair has six points (1-5-6) in 12 games and has a plus-four rating, meaning that he is responsible with the puck and does not make many mistakes. Bottom line; Duclair needs to play. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

 

Eventually, these overtime losses are going to start adding up for the Rangers. A point here and there adds up when you’re fighting for a spot in the playoffs at the end of the year. Four straight shootout losses is not good. New York will need to learn to finish in overtime, or even the regulation, in order to get themselves into a better position for the playoffs.

The next Rangers game will be an emotional one, as Ryan Callahan, Brian Boyle and Anton Stralman all make their return to Madison Square Garden as members of the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday. It will also be the first time that Martin St. Louis faces his former team.

Advertisements

Posted on November 16, 2014, in Game Recaps and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: