Rangers lose 75% of draws in third period and fall to Flyers (PHI 4 v NYR 2)

Mats Zuccarello (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Mats Zuccarello (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Michael Del Zotto made no mistakes when Sean Couturier put the puck on his stick in the third period. Derek Stepan lost complete sense of what his responsibility was and didn’t pick up MDZ coming in late. The red light went on and Del Zotto raised his arms after notching a shorthanded goal.

FLYERS 4 v. RANGERS 2

NYR at PHI (ESPN)

NYR at PHI (ESPN)

The goal came early in the third but the Rangers didn’t look like they had it last night. “We were playing against a team that was desperate,” Alain Vigneault said. “I don’t say it too often about too many parts of our game, but unfortunately our power play got outworked tonight.”

Another area the Rangers were outworked as per usual was in the face-off circle. The Flyers won 55% of the draws last night, but a staggering 75% of draws in the third period. This is an issue that many continue to dismiss, citing what the analytics community continues to perpetuate.

According to them, face-offs are another type of puck battle and the impact of losing a draw only lasts a mere few seconds. Well last night, those seconds added up to kill any momentum the Rangers tried to mount in the third period, especially on their power play.

The NHL trade deadline is tomorrow at 3pm and face-off specialist Antoine Vermette is off the board. Chicago became a player once they lost Patrick Kane to a long term injury, thus freeing cap space. NY is now in a bind if they hope to address their face-off issues by tomorrow.

Funny, the Rangers goals were scored by two possible trade chips. JT Miller and John Moore each notched tallies. Meanwhile, Mats Zuccarello looked affected by news of being on the block. Zuccarello finished his night a miserable -3.

So if the rumors are true that the Leafs are trying to push Bozak on the Rangers, I say do it. His cap hit of 4.2M could be alleviated if the Leafs are really that eager to move him. If Toronto will eat a portion of that contract and maybe the Rangers can work out a much larger deal to include more pieces, maybe it’s a move Slats has to make.

Regardless, the Rangers can’t hope this issue on draws fixes itself or that they can continue to be a statistical anomaly. The Rangers are the only team losing 48% or more on draws and still driving possession. For more on that read why face-offs matter here.

NYR FO REPORT (NHL)

NYR FO REPORT (NHL)

NOTES

HIGHLIGHTS & INTERVIEWS

Anthony Scultore has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL since 2014. His work also appears at... More about Anthony Scultore

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