Rangers dominated by Tampa at home; St. Louis scores against his former team
It was set up to be a great matchup against the Lightning with players from both teams facing their former club. Instead, the Rangers (7-7-4) were embarrassed at home by the Lightning (13-4-2), mustering a measly 16 shots in the process.
In his return to the Garden, Callahan was great, scoring two goals, one on the power play, including the game winner. Steven Stamkos was just as good, scoring once and tallying two assists.
An interesting fact; when Ryan Callahan has scored for the Lightning, they are 12-0-0.
Martin St. Louis was the only Ranger to score, and it came on the power play in the second period. It was St. Louis’ sixth goal in eight games. After tonight’s goal, St. Louis has now scored against every team in the NHL in his illustrious career.
Ben Bishop had his easiest win of the year, making 15 saves on the 16 shots that he faced, and not getting tested all that much. It was his 11th win of the season.
Out of the gates, both teams looked a little flustered. There were not a ton of great chances, and both sides were clearly affected by their nerves. However, it was even, and both teams were playing well.
Tampa Bay found the back of the net first, with Nikita Kucherov scoring his seventh of the season. Following a Rangers breakaway, Tyler Johnson made a great pass to Kucherov who was flying up the middle of the ice, and he got it through the pads of Lundqvist.
Less than eight minutes later, the former Rangers Captain, Ryan Callahan, scored his first goal of the game on the power play. Following a Marc Staal tripping, Steven Stamkos made a gorgeous move to get past Hagelin and Girardi, and fed Callahan who was wide open in front.
Towards the end of the period, Martin St. Louis drew a tripping penalty along the boards with 40 seconds left to go in the first period. The power play carried over into the second period.
In the second, Martin St. Louis delivered, scoring on the power play against his former team, just 32 seconds into the period. St. Louis was looking to make a pass, but the puck deflected off of a defenders stick, bringing the Rangers within one. The assists went to Derick Brassard and Derek Stepan.
It was also the third power play goal for the Rangers in four games, a sign that their special teams unit may be improving.
Following the goal, the Rangers had a perfect opportunity to get back into the game. The crowd was into it following the goal, and Zuccarello drew two penalties, giving the Rangers a 5-on-3 for 32 seconds. Stempniak came close, but Bishop made a good save in front.
The Rangers continued to have the momentum, getting a few quality chances while shorthanded as well as right after the penalty kill, but all of that suddenly changed.
Rick Nash attempted to make a pass through the middle of the ice, but it was taken away by Valtteri Filppula, who dished if off to Stamkos for a breakaway. He doesn’t miss those, and he buried it for his 12th goal of the season, giving Tampa a 3-1 lead.
The Bolts appeared to score again, but the officials ruled that Lundqvist was interfered with on the play. However, the Lightning didn’t stop the pressure, and Alex Killorn sniped one over the shoulder of Lundqvist, making it 4-1 in the second period.
From that point on, the Rangers were dominated. Nothing went right for them. They could not hold onto the puck, create chances, carry the puck through the neutral zone, or establish offense of any kind. At one point, the Lightning had 14 straight shots on goal. Over the last 28:40 of the game, the Rangers had a total of 5 shots on goal.
Ryan Callahan would score one more goal in the third, after Steven Stamkos worked hard to win a battle on the boards. Stamkos got the puck to an uncovered Callahan in front, who made a great move to slide the puck past Lundqvist, capping off a 5-1 victory for the Lightning.
This is an alarming loss for the Rangers. As Martin St. Louis said, it looked like the Rangers were just “watching the game.” And head coach Alain Vigneault said, apart from the start of the first period and the start of the second, tonight was a “total disaster.”
The Rangers had 16 shots on goal, with 5 of them coming from Martin St. Louis. Throughout the game, there was almost no sustained offense, and Tampa dominated almost the entire 60 minutes. The defense and puck awareness was also not great, as turnovers and uncovered Lightning skaters plagued the Rangers.
One player who continues to play well is the rookie Kevin Hayes. Constantly receiving support and praise from the coaches and the MSG Broadcasters, Hayes does a lot of things right, and continues to get smarter with every game that he plays in. Hayes is very patient with the puck, is a good passer, and is a good puck possession player. Vigneault has also been using him on the penalty kill, where he has been effective. Around the middle of the season, I think that Kevin Hayes could be a big contributor to this team.
Henrik Lundqvist did not have his best night, surrendering 5 goals on 30 shots, as well as two goals on the first four shots. It also did not help that he didn’t get much support from anybody on the ice tonight.
In his return to the lineup, Anthony Duclair looked good. One thing that I noticed was his jump off of the puck. He was constantly playing physically and going after the guy with the puck and covering his man. He continues to show his intelligence and the fact that he does not make many mistakes. Despite the Bolts scoring five goals, Duclair was neutral in the plus-minus category.
Although he didn’t have much work, Ben Bishop continues to shut down the Rangers. Bishop improved to 11-2-2, as well as 6-0-0 against the Rangers in his career.
The Rangers need help in a lot of areas. After dominating the Penguins 5-0 last week, they have lost three straight, two of them in overtime. In the month of November they are 2-3-4, and they have not been able to string together a few good games this season.
To paraphrase Dave Maloney on MSG tonight, the Rangers could use a long road trip. What he means by that is on the road there are less distractions. You go to the rink, practice, play the game, and take the flight to the next location. Then do it all over again. The game plan is simplified, and you are totally focused on the game, as there are less distractions. The Rangers have been at home so often in the beginning of the season, and it looks like the distractions have been getting to them, as they have looked out of synch quite often this season.
Whatever it is, the Rangers need to wake up and realize that games will not be handed to them. It needs to be earned, and this team needs to play better and be the Rangers team that they have proved to be during some games this season.
The Rangers next game will be a nationally televised matchup between two bitter rivals, as they take on the Philadelphia Flyers at the Garden on NBC Sports Network at 8 PM. The Flyers were eliminated by the Rangers in the first round of last season’s playoffs, and they’re in a similar position as the Rangers, struggling early this year and looking to stay relevant.
Posted on November 18, 2014, in Game Recaps and tagged Alain Vigneault, Anthony Duclair, Anton Stralman, Ben Bishop, Brian Boyle, Carl Hagelin, Chris Kreider, Chris Mueller, Dan Girardi, Derek Stepan, Derick Brassard, Henrik Lundqvist, Henrik Lundqvist shutout, Jesper Fast, John Moore, Kevin Hayes, Kevin Klein, King Henrik, Lundqvist shutout, Madison Square Garden, Marc Staal, Martin St. Louis, Mats Zuccarello, Matt Hunwick, MSG, New York Rangers, NHL, NHL 2014-2015 Season, NY Rangers, NYR, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Rangers Nation, Rangerstown, Rick Nash, Ryan Callahan, Ryan McDonagh, Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning, Tampa By Lightning, Tanner Glass, The Duke, The Ranger Zone. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.