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Game 42: LV 4 NYR 2, better effort, same end result

January 9, 2019, 2:55 PM ET [111 Comments]
Jan Levine
New York Rangers Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
The Rangers were much better than the prior three games but that was not enough to defeat the Golden Knights. In Las Vegas' 4-2 win, the home team converted their chances, showing finishing ability, which the road team lacked. The Blueshirts return to New York for a home-and-home against the Islanders.

Game recap:

David Quinn Post-Game:

A few thoughts:
1) Lack of a finisher - Marc-Andre Fleury played a strong game, but most of his strong saves weren't against New York's big scorers. Cody McLeod was robbed twice, Brett Howden, who couldn't hit water if he fell out of a boat due to his scoring struggles, once. But as Carp said, the big boys, Zibanejad, Kreider, Zuccarello, need to be the ones getting these chances. Though seeing how much the offense has struggled, they likely wouldn't score either

2) Blueline - one the first goal against, Kevin Shattenkirk went in deep and didn’t get to the puck. Marc Staal, who has been much more aggressive offensively, gambled going for the puck in the neutral zone, and Cody Eakin was sprung, by Alex Tuck, on a gorgeous backhand feed for a breakaway behind Jimmy Vesey. 1-0. Staal has to be smarter there or the forward has to rotate back, but Vesey likely wouldn't be able to get back in time, so Staal needs to judge the situation better.

On the third goal against, Staal missed the net by several feet and the puck rebounded all of the way out of the zone where Jonathan Marchessault picked it up and beat Alexandar Georgiev on a breakaway. Before that tally, the Rangers were pressing and had the better of play. But that goal sealed the loss.

After three games out and one game in, Brendan Smith was back out of the Rangers’ lineup. Tony DeAngelo, who had been scratched the previous three games, and six of the last eight, stepped into his spot. Freddie Claesson was the other defenseman sitting out. Good info from Colin Stephenson who noted that recently, five of the eight defensemen – Staal, Neal Pionk, Brady Skjei, Adam McQuaid and Shattenkirk_ have been in the lineup every night, while Smith, Claesson and DeAngelo take turns as the sixth defenseman. Quinn, though, was not ready to say this was set in stone, even though it sure looks like the case.

DeAngelo didn't have the best of outings. As the NY Post noted, ADA took a penalty in the first period and in the second, he took exception to a hit from Max Pacioretty early in the game that forced him to miss the rest of the first period, approximately 11 minutes worth. When he returned, he went after the former Montreal captain and got called for the retaliatory boarding as well as a 10-minute misconduct for trying to start a fight with any willing combatant (of which there was none). Due to injury and his retaliation, the rangers played with five Blueliners for in essence more than a period. But in the third, DeAngelo showed the skill that makes him tantalizing and polarizing at the same. I wonder if he sits for Claesson on Thursday, but for Quinn and management to make a final decision on ADA, who would be exposed to waivers in order to be sent down, he needs to play every game for a stretch of time.

3) Ex-Rangers scoring - Tuesday was Brandon Pirri's turn. He picked up the puck in the crease after Pacioretty's shot got through Georgiev and off the post, putting it in the open net.

4) Structure and competitive level - much better by New York, against a real good team. In the the three losses prior to Tuesday, they lost structure and discipline while showing a major decline in energy and competitive level. Going 5-10-5 since Thanksgiving has adversely impacted the team mentally, especially while getting outscored 18-3 in the prior three games. Tuesday, they showed much better energy.

The Rangers (17-18-7) have had a tough time since Thanksgiving, going 5-10-5 during that stretch with this past week being when the bottom fell out. While losing these four games by a combined score of 22-5, they had lost discipline and structure, and most alarming, they had lost their competitive edge.

5) Kevin Hayes missed his third straight game because of an upper- body injury he suffered on Dec. 14. More concerning is that Hayes has not skated since his last game, Dec. 27 vs. Pittsburgh. This puts his availability for tomorrow and maybe even Saturday in question.

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