The Senators played the Rangers tough, as per usual. After the Sens opened up a 2-0 lead, the Rangers showed their grittiness and their willingness to fight back as they tied the game before the first period ended. But in the end, the Sens showed why they are still a playoff team despite being without three of their top players. On to the goals:
Lady luck is mean sometimes.
Senators 1, Rangers 0
Regardless of the Rangers inability to control the puck following Daniel Alfredsson’s original shot, this goal is mostly just unlucky. Zack Smith circles back with Alfredsson after he regains possession of the puck, and eventually circles to the high slot. He gets a step on Derek Stepan, which is all he needs when Sergei Gonchar takes his slow wrister. Henrik Lundqvist had a clear lane, and was poised to stop the puck. Then luck took over, and the puck bounced awkwardly on the ice and over Lundqvist’s pad. Stepan doesn’t get beat by much, but it was enough to cause a luck change.
Hank looks like he’s having trouble seeing the shot.
Senators 2, Rangers 0
After Marian Gaborik takes an offensive zone penalty, the Senators go to work on the powerplay and work the puck from behind the net to the corner. Patrick Wiercioch eventually takes a slap shot from the point, and from the picture above, you can see Darroll Powe, Milan Michalek, and Ryan McDonagh are all in the shooting lane. This one just finds a hole between everyone and beats Hank. It looks like Hank is screened, but it’s tough to say whether he should have had it. Regardless of if he should have saved that, he definitely wants that back.
Gryba’s stick on the puck, lucky bounce for Nash.
Rangers 1, Senators 2
Honestly, there’s not much to break down here. Rick Nash eventually takes a pass from Michael Del Zotto, skates into the zone, and takes a soft wrist shot. The shot takes an unlucky bounce off Eric Gryba’s stick and skips past Robin Lehner. This is luck evening out after the first Senators’ goal.
Perfect coverage by Methot, good coverage by Smith. Great shot.
Rangers 2, Senators 2
Carl Hagelin makes this goal happen for a full 200 feet. First, he chips the puck past Gonchar to create a rush opportunity with Marc Methot back. Methot plays the rush perfectly, cutting off the angle between Hagelin and the net. Richards is Smith’s man, but he gives him a little bit of room to maneuver. This isn’t necessarily bad coverage, but I’m sure Smith would like to be a little tighter on Richards. Hagelin drops the puck perfectly on Richards’ tape, and he rips a perfect shot over Lehner. Smith was a little off on the coverage, but Hagelin chipping the puck past Gonchar made this goal happen. It also helps that Lehner played the angle incredibly poorly.
Lots of point room, no tie up by MDZ.
Senators 3, Rangers 2
This goal is one that Lundqvist definitely wants back. The Sens maintained decent pressure for a few shifts, and the puck eventually cycles to Gryba for a point shot (which the Rangers were giving up all night). The shot hits Hank directly in the chest, and Del Zotto didn’t tie up Jakob Silfverberg properly, giving him the easy rebound put-back. While this goal is because of a bad rebound, I believe this goal is avoidable if the Rangers stop allowing those point shots so often. Suit will disagree with me here, but the Rangers play a much more passive collapsing box than other teams, and they just give up that point way too much.
The loss broke the Rangers four game winning streak. The troubling aspect here is that the Rangers can’t seem to beat top-eight teams. This team is still a playoff-bound team, but their inability to beat playoff teams is beginning to worry me.