Quick Hits – Rangers vs Hurricanes 3/9/17
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Here is my recap of the Rangers 4-3 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes
Power Play – The Rangers offense couldn’t score at even strength, but they finally cashed in on the power play. After going 3/44 since the beginning of February, the Blueshirts scored three goals on the man advantage in this one. After all of these failures they changed the breakout structure, getting rid of the drop pass and going with speed up the walls. The first goal came from Chris Kreider, who was left all alone in front. Kreider took a gorgeous no look pass from Derek Stepan, and put it over top of Cam Ward. Mika Zibanejad scored the next two goals, scoring his first regulation goal since January 17th. The first goal came after finding a loose puck that squirted behind Cam Ward. Then, after a Jay McClement failed clear, Zibanejad wired one off the blocker and into the net. If this is the game that turns the PP back around, it will be the positive takeaway from this game.
Derek Stepan – It has been a bittersweet seven weeks for the Rangers alternate captain, who has not scored a goal since January 17th, but has recorded 10 assists in that span. He had ten shots on goal in this game, and had a couple more that hit the post. He will break through sooner rather than later, as long as he keeps firing them at the net.
Effort – As well as the Rangers played in the second period, is how poorly they played in the third. They retreated to their old habits that saw them lose three out of four last week; not skating, not going into the corners with purpose, and just being outplayed. The Hurricanes took the game to the Blueshirts in the third, and it cost them. The boys will need to figure this out quick, because come playoff time, they won’t be able to just take a period off and expect to win.
Goalie Interference? – The Hurricanes controlled the entire third period, and forced the Rangers into some penalties. On the first of their power plays in the third, Sebastian Aho fired a slapshot from the point and found the back of the net/ Just one problem. Elias Lindholm, who was screening the Rangers goaltender, made contact with the head of Antti Raanta as the shot was being taken. After AV challenged the call, the referees determined that Raanta initiated the contact, and that he was outside the crease when the contact was made. I don’t know what replays the officials were looking at, but the ones on MSG clearly show Raanta’s mask moving when Lindholm skates in front of him. In addition, Raanta’s skates are in the blue paint! If the whole point of having replay is to get the call right, how can that call not be overturned! Yes the officials are only human, but between the officials and the people in Toronto, you’re telling me nobody saw the contact? It was not the reason the Rangers lost the game, but it did give Carolina all of the momentum. Don’t get me wrong, I am as upset about this missed call as the next guy, but the Hurricanes dominated the entire third period. The Rangers got burned by a bad call, but they were playing with fire for the entire period, and they ultimately got burned.
At the end of the day, we didn’t play well enough in the third period, we got outplayed.” Alain Vigneault
Antti Raanta – The Hurricanes put four past the Finnish netminder, but he didn’t get much help from his defense. The first two Hurricanes goals came directly off of defensive zone turnovers, and the tying and losing goals were with the Rangers shorthanded. With the way his team played in front of him for most of the third period, he kept the game within reach. This is just a blip in Antti’s great season, and the Rangers will need him down the stretch.
“All the times I have asked for challenges, since we have been allowed to do this, this one I am 100% sure I am right.” – Alain Vigneault
NEXT GAME: The Blueshirts will look to bounce back on Sunday, when they head to Joe Louis Arena for the final time and face the Red Wings. Puck drops at 7!
LETS GO RANGERS!!