The Anaheim Ducks were in town tonight as the Rangers were looking to get redemption after being embarrassed in their first matchup last month. The Rangers played a much better game this time around, but they couldn’t solve the Ducks defense en route to a 2-1 loss. New York had two key defensive zone gaffes that led to a pair of first period goals for Anaheim, and after that they shut it down and didn’t allow the Rangers to generate any offense at all.
In a bit of an ironic twist, the Rangers were victimized initially by the Ducks 2-1-2 forecheck, causing turnovers galore as the Rangers adjusted to playing an actual NHL caliber team. Then they were victimized by the low zone collapse as they struggled to get shots through the Ducks once they had the lead. Those systems should sound very familiar.
Anyway, on to the goals:
Ducks 1, Rangers 0
The Rangers got some bad luck when they cleared the zone, as the puck hit the changing Ducks with too many men on the ice. No penalty was called, and the puck was sent right back into the zone. Derick Brassard made a relatively terrible pass from the corner to the opposite point, through the middle. With that pass and the subsequent turnover, the Rangers coverage was completely blown. Brassard and Brian Boyle go to Ryan Getzlaf while Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh are on the same side heading towards Dustin Penner. No one picked up Corey Perry, who had so much time that he could take three whacks at it.
Ducks 2, Rangers 0
Brad Richards kick started this with an awful backhanded pass to Carl Hagelin that was easily picked off by Francois Beauchemin. As the Rangers transitioned to defense, Michael Del Zotto took a very wide turn (photo above), and never swivel-headed to see Kyle Palmieri behind him. For some reason, all four Rangers went to Beauchemin and Nick Bonino. No one picked up Palmieri (photo below). He had all day to grip it and rip it.
Rangers 1, Ducks 2
After an offensive zone face off win, the Rangers got the puck deep behind the net, where John Moore made a good pinch to keep the puck deep. It eventually winds up near the goal mouth with four Ducks, backs turned, watching the puck and swatting at it while Frederik Andersson was trying to cover the puck. It looked like one of the Ducks actually swatted the puck out of the crease, where Del Zotto was waiting for it after moving in from the point.
From the Fenwick chart, we can see that the Rangers didn’t really play a poor game and weren’t dominated. They actually generated more offensive chances than the Ducks. The problem was that the Ducks capitalized on the Rangers turnovers, while the Rangers couldn’t capitalize on the Ducks turnovers.
One loss after three wins in a row isn’t something to panic about, especially when the team wasn’t outplayed by any stretch. Losses happen.
The Rangers have the Penguins next. It’s too early for must-wins, but a win against the Pens shows that this is a club that can beat the good teams as well as the bad.