Monday, February 27, 2017

Blue Jackets 5, Rangers 2

The New York Rangers (40-20-2) lost to the Columbus Blue Jackets (39-16-5)  by the score of 5-2. For a box score, click here.

3 Stars

1st Star - The 5pm Start (Thankfully we didn't have to stay up too late watching this one)
2nd Star - The Walking Dead (A new episode allowed me to immediately take my mind off this loss)
3rd Star - The Trade Deadline (I love this time of year in the NHL as GMs have already begun wheeling and dealing)

Post Game Cocktail Recommendation

With tonight being the Rangers 5th game in 8 days they looked both mentally and physically tired, so I decided to go with The Sleepwalker because that's pretty much what they did against Columbus.

Gif of the Game

Sooooooo this guy was totally into the game...

Turning Point

With the Rangers down 2-1 in the early part of the second period, Jesper Fast puts forth an outstanding individual effort...

Which lead to Lindberg ringing one off the pipe...

If Lindberg buries that shot this might have been a completely different game. Instead, a few minutes later Columbus extends the lead to 3-1 and the game is essentially over.

Tough Night For Zibanejad

After scoring the game winner in the shootout against Toronto on Thursday and the overtime winner vs. the Devils Saturday, Zibanejad was sitting on top of the world. But it all came crashing down tonight.

First, he allows too much space between himself and Wennberg who is able to tip home the game's first goal....

Next, he has a shot blocked on the power play...

Then his neutral zone turnover leads to a Columbus breakaway and eventual penalty shot...

His nightmare continues as he not only turns the puck over after Holden's sliding save...

After Columbus regains possession, he's juked out of his jock for the Blue Jackets third goal...

And finally, to add insult to injury, he takes a shot off the hand in the final minute and after a brief stay on the bench, heads to the locker room before the final buzzer...

AV didn't have an update on Zibanejad's hand after the game.

Speaking of Tough Nights

Sadly, Marc Staal and Nick Holden made Zibanejad's night look like an All Star performance as they were on the ice for the Blue Jackets first four goals. Including this fire drill...

And I'd love for Holden to explain what the hell he was thinking here...

Despite what was seemingly an awful night at the office for this defensive pair, they, somehow, both had solid possession numbers of 60% 5-on-5 Corsi For.  I guess it helps that they were on the ice for both of the Rangers goals as well.

Tonight, the eye test wins out over the fancy stats as they were not good.

Stay On Your Feet & Good Things Will Happen

For some reason, the snow angle has become the weapon of choice for the Rangers defensemen. However, tonight, Clendening showed why staying on your feet is the smarter strategy...

While Clendening misses the initial pass, he was still in position to recover and make the huge defensive play. If he snow angles and misses, he slides into the end boards and out of the play. Hopefully, Beukeboom took notice of this and uses it to teach the others (cough - Girardi - cough).

Mini Recap

Strategic tank job by the Rangers tonight as Columbus leap frogged them in the standings to take over the #3 seed in Metro. 

In all seriousness, Columbus definitely played with an edge from the opening whistle as Jenner was running anyone in a blue jersey. Unfortunately, the Rangers, who have played a ton of hockey lately, including three overtime games in the last five days, didn't seem to have an answer.

Sure the Blueshirts possession numbers made this look better than the score indicated, as they out shot attempted Columbus 65-49, but it was the rare occurrence to see a Ranger player in Bobrovsky's line of vision or outworking a Blue Jacket defenseman for a rebound. Not nearly enough bodies or pucks to the net.

The Rangers defense was so porous, the Blue Jackets just had another breakaway while you were reading this recap.

Last week, I said I wasn't too worried about the Rangers penalty kill giving up power play goals in two straight games. Well, now it's four of the last five games and I'm officially concerned.

And don't get me started on the power play. With tonight's 0-for-2, the Blueshirts are 1-for-25 over their last 10 games and 3-for-44 over the last 17 with the man advantage. Seriously, get bodies to the net and start firing from the point. With the skill set the Rangers power play units possess, this shouldn't be that difficult. Or maybe acquiring Kevin Shattenkirk is the answer.

Dan Girardi played the fewest minutes of any defenseman. Clendening might just be playing his way into an everyday spot in the line-up.

Stepan goalless drought is now up to 17 games, while Miller-Hayes-Grabner have combined for just two points in the last six games. Thank God Fast and Lindberg are scoring.

No rest for the weary as the Rangers host the Capitals Tuesday night.

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