Per Dan Rosen, injured winger Ryane Clowe is on the ice for practice today. Clowe has been out since Game Five of the Washington series with a likely concussion. While this is always promising news, let’s remember that Marc Staal has been practicing for a while, and he’s only played in one playoff game. This is a hopeful sign, but until we hear confirmation he is playing, it is still just a hopeful sign.
Andrew Gross is reporting that Darroll Powe is on the ice at practice as well. Anton Stralman and Chris Kreider were not at the optional.
(AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
The Rangers are in one helluva hole right now, down 3-0 to the rolling Bruins after their 2-1 loss in Game 3. The Rangers didn’t really deserve to win this game, but the way it ended was one of the oddest endings to a game I have ever seen. That said, the lucky bounce wasn’t the reason why they lost. The Bruins outplayed the Rangers in every facet of the game for the third straight game of the series. The Rangers now face an elimination game on Thursday night in Game Four. On to the goals:
Rangers 1, Bruins 0
Derek Stepan won an offensive zone face off, and Ryan McDonagh got a shot off that was blocked and sat on Patrice Bergeron’s stick for a clear. The clear was blocked and McDonagh took a soft wrister from the blue line with half a dozen guys in the shooting lane. You can see from the replay that Tuukka Rask was leaning to his glove side to see the shot, and McD’s shot went to his stick side. Somehow the shot actually got through –after a Taylor Pyatt deflection– and just beat Rask. Not much to break down, but Bergeron is a lot better than that clear. No picture on this because it didn’t come out the way I would have liked, and I didn’t think we needed a picture of Rask leaning left to see the shot.
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During the Game Three loss, the NBCSN announcers noted that Anton Stralman did not return to the game after a vicious (and clean) hit by Milan Lucic in the first period. Stralman was noted to possibly have a concussion.
Corey Sipkin/ New York Daily News
Entering Game Three, the Rangers find themselves in a very similar situation. They come home down 2-0, after dropping the first two in Boston, the second one in epicly poor fashion. Just like last round, the Rangers find themselves in need of holding serve at MSG and sending the series back to Boston tied at two games a piece. This team did it once before, and they are perfectly capable of doing it again. This series is far from oer.
Game 2 goal breakdown
Positives/negatives of Game 1
5 keys for success for the Rangers
Rangers/Bruins second round preview
Five keys for success against the Bruins
Scouting Tuukka Rask and his goaltending style
Previewing the Bruins and their systems/styles of play
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Josh Nicholls (undrafted UFA) of the Saskatoon Blades scored three goals and added an assist in Saskatoon’s first two games of the Mastercard Memorial Cup round robin play. In the first contest –a 3-2 loss to the OHL champion London Knights– Nicholls notched both goals for the Blades and finished with a +1 rating. In the second game –a 5-2 win over the QMJHL champion Halifax Mooseheads– Nicholls notched a goal and an assist with 2 PIMs.
Shane McColgan (5th, 2011), also with Saskatoon, notched an assist and a +1 rating in the game against Halifax. McColgan was held scoreless in the first game. Saskatoon is hosting the Memorial Cup this season, which guaranteed their entry to the tournament, despite their first round loss in the WHL playoffs.
Per Andrew Gross, Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh are back together as a pairing on defense. After an abysmal Game Two with Michael Del Zotto, Girardi will be reunited with McDonagh to form that top shutdown pair the Rangers split up after the Washington series. Del Zotto will be with Anton Stralman, and the John Moore-Steve Eminger pair remains the same.
The change is likely two-fold: Realizing that the current pairs weren’t working, and that the Rangers have home ice (and last change) for the next two games.
Something that was very obvious during yesterday’s loss was that the Rangers defense had a lot of trouble matching up and shutting down the Bruins forwards. Prior to the series, coach John Tortorella swapped his defense pairings to prepare for a much deeper Bruins club. In doing so, he split up Dan Girardi/Ryan McDonagh, and put Girardi with Michael Del Zotto.
Let’s be clear about one thing, Del Zotto is a top-four defenseman in this league. He’s a top-50 guy, which puts him in the upper echelon of second pairing defensemen. He’s not perfect, he’s not going to do well against the top scorers in the league, but he will be able to hold his own. That said, the pairing of Del Zotto/Girardi has never worked. It didn’t work two years ago, it didn’t work last year, it won’t work this year.
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Update 12:00pm: Per Andrew Gross, Hank is on the ice for practice. False alarm.
Original Post: On the postgame show last night, it was mentioned that Henrik Lundqvist would have his shoulder looked at today to ensure everything is ok. Hank took a Danielle Paille shot off his shoulder late in yesterday’s 5-2 loss, and remained down on the ice for a short period of time. Hank stayed in the game, and trainer Jim Ramsay never left the bench. Marty Biron didn’t even put on his helmet.
The shot likely hit Hank in a soft spot in the padding, which happens from time to time. We’ve seen Hank take awkward shots and remain in the game. This likely wouldn’t be any different.
Yesterday, I used four stats to discuss how the Rangers are not a team that sits on a lead. Those four stats I introduced to the blog (note: These are not new stats, just new to being used on this blog) were Fenwick, Situational Corsi, CF%, and FF%. Since the Rangers are off today, now would be a good time to go into detail about each stat.
Fenwick is the easiest to describe, since it is a lot like Corsi. Corsi is the plus/minus of the number of shot attempts taken by a team that are missed, blocked, or on net. It is something we have used very often on the blog. Fenwick is almost the exact same thing as Corsi, but it removes blocked shots from the equation. The logic here is that it eliminates coaching strategy from the equation. Some coaches preach blocking shots, and others preach preventing shot attempts. Fenwick eliminates that variable.
Personally, I prefer to use Corsi when analyzing players. That said, Fenwick is a bit more reliable when comparing players on different teams, since it does eliminate the coaching variable.
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“The Rangers play boring hockey. They sit on leads, they block shots, and the don’t even attempt to score once they have the lead.”
I’m sure you’ve heard this before. Almost every media outlet says this about the Rangers during the postseason. The logic here is that the Rangers block a lot of shots, thus are a passive team and are content sitting on one-goal leads. The logic is flawed, as blocking shots has nothing to do with the aggressiveness of a team once they obtain a lead. Blocking shots is how a team plays in their own zone. There are two other zones in hockey with completely different systems, as we’ve noted on this site many times.
Aside from the Caps series, where the Rangers were completely manhandled in terms of Corsi (not a single player had a positive Corsi), the Rangers as a whole are not a team that sits back on leads. Even in the Caps series the Rangers were still generating offense, but the Caps had an overwhelming puck possession advantage that it marred their attempts. This is something we’ve detailed with chalk talks and systems before, but now we have some data to match the eye test.
This brings us to situational team Corsi. I will touch more in-depth tomorrow, but situational team Corsi is exactly that: The Corsi of a team based on the current situation (note: Score) of the game. Since Corsi is a puck possession metric that measures the +/- of shot attempts (on net, missed, blocked), situational Corsi just breaks this down into the Corsi of a team at any particular score (up 1, down 1, tied, etc).
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