The New York Rangers lost to the Edmonton Oilers last night in what was a very entertaining game to watch, despite the loss and shutout. But, when Henrik Lundqvist removed himself from the game midway through the third period, every single Ranger fan said “oh crap”. But, according to the MSG broadcast, the All-World goaltender was just cramping up.
- The Oilers are a very fast team. Each one of their first round picks can skate, handle the puck, and score. They are going to be a very, very good team in the near future.
- It was nice to see Corey Potter get big minutes for the Oilers. I liked him when he was a Ranger, and it’s good to see him getting playing time elsewhere. It is interesting that Tom Renney is the one that wound up giving him that shot. I wrote a post two years ago about how there may have been some pressure to play Wade Redden (I was speculating, no proof of that). The fact that Renney picked up Potter shows he liked what he saw while in New York.
- Brendan Bell is the direct cause for the Oilers first goal. He pinched in an awful scenario when he had no chance of retaining possession of the puck. The Oilers turned that into a 3-on-2, with Brandon Prust back, and it led to the Ryan Nugent-Hopkins goal.
- The Rangers play a 2-1-2 forecheck. But the way that goal played out started with two Rangers (Brian Boyle, Ruslan Fedotenko) behind the net pressuring the puck carrier, one Ranger (Prust) down low, and the two defensemen at the blue line. In that situation, Bell needs to identify the situation and not pinch, as he left Steve Eminger hanging. It was poor hockey IQ, a poor decision, and a terrible pinch. Bell needs to read that situation better.
- Tim Erixon played a 2-on-1 pretty poorly in the third period, when he was in the process of getting burned, so he kind of laid down on the ice, and neither took the shot nor the pass. Luckily, Lundqvist was still in the game.
- The Rangers again only took four penalties, but it did cost them when Potter scored the Oilers second goal. It would be nice to see more discipline, especially in the offensive zone, but I’ll take four penalties.
- That said, the Rangers need to start converting on the power play. The play with the man advantage looked good, as they were moving the puck around and generating chances, but they need to put the puck in the net. No more of this “almost” stuff. They need to score on the 5-on-3 too. They played too spread out on that opportunity. They really need to make the ice surface smaller and the highest the point men should be is the top of the circle.
- In the first period, Lundqvist made another save that will be a candidate for Save of the Year. I think he has three legitimate candidates for that award already this season.
- Brandon Dubinsky really is having a tough start to the season. He had the puck on his stick for what felt like five seconds in the second period with a solid opportunity and he never shot the puck. Then in the third he had the puck on a 3-on-1 with no clear passing lane, and didn’t shoot. He just looks lost out there right now.
- Ryan Callahan is another guy who is having a slow start to the year. Those two need to get their acts together quickly.
- Derek Stepan burned Ladislav Smid on one play, and it was beautiful. Stepan rarely shows off his wheels, but he burned right past Smid and created a 2-on-1 break.
- John Tortorella’s dog house is getting pretty crowded. Wojtek Wolski is there already, and he was joined by Erik Christensen, Mike Rupp, and Artem Anisimov this game.
The Oilers are the type of team that will give the Rangers trouble. They are very fast and very skilled, and the Rangers just don’t match up well against them. No need to panic over a loss. A point against the Jets on Monday will mean a successful road trip.