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Rangers show no effort in 4-1 loss to the Buffalo Sabres

Bobby Bevilacqua

rangers-vs-sabres-1-3

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

The first game of 2017 was an absolute dud for the Rangers (26-13-1), showing minimal effort and playing a poor all-around game and falling to the Buffalo Sabres (14-15-8) by a final score of 4-1.

The Rangers were flat from the start, and never got anything really going whether it was offensively or defensively. They never recovered from early penalties and early goals against, getting totally outplayed and outworked by the Sabres, who were without some key players in their lineup.

There were some similar struggles for the Rangers, mostly the fact that they were losing one-on-one battles defensively in front of the net and along the boards, and that they struggled to move the puck through the neutral zone. Everything was off and the Rangers never recovered.

The first period was not a good one for the Rangers, where they were outshot 9-5 and giving up two goals in the first 20 minutes. They didn’t record their first shot on goal until 9:54, and only had two or three real good chances in the period. Chris Kreider and Derek Stepan both had point blank shots in the slot, but Anders Nilsson stopped those, as well as a JT Miller deflection in front.

From puck drop, the Rangers looked like a tired, almost lazy team which doesn’t make sense considering they had two days off. But Buffalo came out with a physical edge and outworked New York from the start. They had an early power play but would not score until later in the period.

Zemgus Girgensons would score the first goal of the game on a rebound opportunity. Brady Skjei was caught behind the net on the play and no forward picked up Girgensons in front, leaving him along to lift a puck over Hank on the backhand. The Sabres would add one more goal with just 38 seconds left on a bad play. With the team making a change, Kevin Klein sent and awful pass to Mats Zuccarello that did not reach him. That gave the Sabres on an odd man rush, and Evander Kane scored crashing the net.

The second period saw an improvement, but not really until the end of the period. Buffalo scored on the first of just four shots Henrik Lundqvist would face this period, and it was due to a turnover from Kevin Klein. Evander Kane would outmuscle the Rangers defender and force a bad pass. Rookie Justin Bailey fired the puck through Lundqvist’s pads while falling to the ice and gave Buffalo a 3-0 lead.

The Rangers did a whole lot of nothing for the next 14 minutes, getting some shots but no real high quality scoring chances. Nick Holden would put the Rangers on the board at 15:55, firing a blast top shelf for his eighth goal of the season, and his fourth in the last four games. The Rangers recorded 15 shots on goal this period, but none of them really made Anders Nilsson do anything that wasn’t routine.

The third period wasn’t any better. The Sabres would score yet another goal, this time it was Jack Eichel on the power play. The Rangers started the period with two early penalties, one hooking call on Vesey and a delay of game on Holden. This didn’t allow the Rangers to get any momentum or start playing their way, and they didn’t find their footing until almost 15 minutes in when they finally recorded their first shot on goal of the period.

It’s very rare that this happens, but I can’t choose a single player that had a good game. Not a forward, not a defenseman and not Lundqvist. Everyone was off and looked asleep for almost the entire game, and this was an unacceptable effort from the Rangers in a game that they really should have won. On defense, where there were a ton of problems this game, Kevin Klein may have been the worst. He’s struggled mightily throughout the season, and his regression has created a massive hole on the right side for the Rangers.

The Blueshirts are back at it again tomorrow in a game where they better have a stronger effort, otherwise the Flyers will skate circles around them on national television.

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Posted on January 4, 2017, in Game Recaps and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Lundqvist would have needed to make miraculous saves on Goals 1, 2 and 4. 3 was stoppable if he had gotten his pads together but it was off a horrible turnover. This game gets hung around the necks of all the defensemen (except maybe Holden) who were quite literally atrocious.

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