Rangers loss was embarrassing but has Alain Vigneault lost the room?
Last night the Rangers put forth a performance that ranks among the worst by any team playing their first home game of the playoffs. Aside from Henrik Lundqvist who has been by a country mile, the Rangers best player in every game, no one was beyond criticism. That also goes for the head coach.
Alain Vigneault opened the game by shuffling his lines after the game 2 loss.
Vesey-Zibanejad-Zucc, Nash-Stepan-Grabner, Kreider-Hayes-Fast, Miller-Lindberg-Glass; McDonagh-Girardi, Staal-Smith, Skjei-Klein; Lundqvist.
— Justin Tasch (@J_Tasch) April 16, 2017
These lines lasted barely a half period before he reverted back to the game 2 lines. The only real change was Kevin Klein for Nick Holden who proceeded to turnover pucks and looked overmatched.To compound that issue, AV inexplicably broke up the Smith and Skjei pairing that was having tremendous success.
Still, the biggest issue I had with AV’s personnel decision was keeping the same lousy PP units together. At this point the Rangers are 0-10 on the man advantage and have mustered only 11 shots.
11 SHOTS ON 10 POWERPLAYS!
Seven Rangers have registered a shot on the man advantage with only 2 shots coming from a defenseman (Brady Skjei and Nick Holden). Four are tied for the lead with 2 shots each (Nash, Stepan, Zibanejad, and Hayes), with Zuccarello having the only other shot.
In contrast, the Canadiens are 2 for 10 a man up with 18 shots to their credit. Shea Weber also has a goal on 2 shots from the Montreal blueline. Bottom line, this was the difference in the game last night as the Rangers went 0-2 in a scoreless first period. Just one goal there and the entire complexion of the game changes.
Has AV lost this team?
At some point the question begs to be asked. John Tortorella lost this team and it led to a lackluster exit against Boston before being fired. Another no show performance by his stars and this should be discussed.
Today one reporter covering this series claimed that the Rangers were showing “low energy” during practice and AV was trying to get them going.
#NYR practice seems slightly low energy. AV trying to get team going, don’t seem to be responding. Feels like mid-January practice.#TSN690
— Amanda Stein (@amandacstein) April 17, 2017
The reporter admitted to not seeing many previous Rangers’ practices so I reached out to several others and receive this reply.
@NYR_FullTilt @NYP_Brooksie @stevezipay @J_Tasch I don’t have an energy meter. It was a practice. Didn’t think anything of it.
— Dan Rosen (@drosennhl) April 17, 2017
Take from this what you will, but how do you explain the pitiful performance many Rangers put forth last night? How many times can you watch the top 3 lines and the PP units try and finesse their way into the zone only to be met by Canadiens’ jersey standing up at the line? I don’t know about you, but I’m sick of it.
Another Shakeup Coming?
At today’s practice, Alain Vigneault gave those watching several different looks. Two of note were what appears to be Nick Holden back with Marc Staal and Pavel Buchnevich on the PP. Will Holden return? Will Buchnevich take Tanner Glass’ spot or is AV going to scratch a player like Chris Kreider whom he called out before game 3? The answers are coming and they will be coming tomorrow.
As for AV losing the room…well we won’t know unless the Rangers get bounced in the first round and Jeff Gorton makes a shocking summer announcement. It may seem unlikely after AV signed an extension but anyone remember the name Jeff Fisher of the LA RAMS?
I know I may be overreacting…it’s not like Daryl Sutter is available or something.
Oh wait. Hmmmm.