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Game 31: AZ 4 NYR 3, OT, another blown three-goal lead at home

December 15, 2018, 8:20 PM ET [1 Comments]
Jan Levine
New York Rangers Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
New York blew a 3-0 lead, falling to Arizona 4-3 in overtime Friday. I guess it is a sense of irony that Derek Stepan scored the game-winning goal on a night where Lias Andersson was a healthy scratch. The Rangers look to break their recent skid Sunday against the Golden Knights.

Game recap:

New York blew their second three goal lead in less than two weeks. Add in the lead tossed away against Tampa Bay, though in the contests versus the Jets and Lightning, you can argue that the Blueshirts were outclassed. Last night, however, that was not the case. Passive play, little generated 5v5, defensive mistakes, a power play that went cold after a hot start, a silly penalty leading to the first score of the game for the opponent, one bad goal, a missed shot in overtime and you have the recipe for disaster,

Coach David Quinn said New York is "in a rut," noting "that Philly game [on Nov. 23] is where it started.” The Rangers have gone 2-5-2 since Thanksgiving, following a 9-1-1 stretch. Injuries haven't helped, but last night, Pavel Buchnevich (16:45 ice time, PPG) and Mats Zuccarello (22:30 of ice time, assist) returned, so even with the loss of Kevin Shattenkirk earlier in the week to a separated shoulder, New York should have won this game.

From my points above:

Passive play - after carrying action the first 30 minutes, New York allowed Arizona to carry play.

Little generated 5v5 - as Larry Brooks noted: the Rangers did not get a third period five-on-five shot until Vladislav Namestnikov’s right wing drive at 15:00. The Blueshirts finished with two five-on-five shots in the third period and 13 for the night.

Defensive mistakes - the big one was Brady Skjei on the second goal against. Stepan was not in a good shooting spot and no reason for Skjei to go down, just lay positional hockey. He goes down to the ice, leaves a lane for the pass and shot and instead of keeping a two-goal lead with just under seven minutes left, it's now a one-goal game.

Power play that went cold after a hot start - after going 3-for-3 to start the game, New York failed on their final four power-play advantages, including one early in the third. Those struggles encompassed 4:00 of power-play time in the second that included 1:31 of a five-on-three after Arizona had narrowed the margin to 3-1.

Silly penalty leading to the first score of the game for the opponent - Neal Pionk's unsportsmanlike conduct penalty gave Arizona a PP which they converted. That triggered the comeback.

One bad goal - Oliver-Ekman Larsson's shot was a howitzer that knuckled and dipped past Henrik Lundqvist's glove. Maybe not a bad goal but one you sure as heck thought he would stop.

Missed shot in overtime - after back and forth action and good saves at both ends, Brett Howden had a chance to win it in deep. He missed the shot and Arizona came back to score. Howden has really struggled the past few weeks, ever since getting hurt against Buffalo. As a result, the Rangers have won only five of the eight games in which they have led after 40 minutes, even if the three defeats all came in OT or the shootout. That's inexcusable.

Andersson sat Friday, Kevin Hayes missed the last 3:23 of the third period and the overtime after slamming into the end boards and even though Quinn thinks he will be kay, Hayes could be sidelined Sunday. Boo Nieves was promoted and might play in place of Hayes. I wonder if Howden could use a game off with Andersson slotting in as the third line center? i know suggesting this is an anathema to some, but I really do think Howden may could use a game or two to recalibrate, even though New York has benefitted from many days off lately, allowing Howden to get somewhat refreshed.

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