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Game 43: NYI 4 NYR 3, Losing streak hits 5 despite dominant 3rd pd, Nash

January 11, 2019, 12:43 AM ET [149 Comments]
Jan Levine
New York Rangers Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
The Rangers were much better Thursday, building off their play against Las Vegas. But the end result was their fifth straight loss, 4-3 to the Islanders. The Blueshirts stayed with the Islanders for two periods, then dominated the third, outshooting their subway rivals 17-1. Jesper Fast tied the game at three, but Josh Bailey, on the Isles' only shot of the period scored the game winner with 86 seconds left. The two teams meet at the Barclays Center on Saturday afternoon at 1pm.

Game recap:

David Quinn Post-Game:



A few thoughts:
1) Game-winner - Marc Staal's coverage wasn't great but Neal Pionk's was a whole heaping mess of garbage. Pionk has offensive skills, but the own zone coverage needs an inordinate amount of work. The lack of progress this season is very concerning. If he doesn't fix this major part of his game, he will find his way into the press box a lot. That should happen Saturday as a way to send a message.

We all have been advocating for a while to break up this duo. The question is who should play with who? As seen below Kevin Shattenkirk, who scored his second goal of the season, and first since Nov. 9, with a wrist shot from the right circle into the top left corner at 1:11 of the second period to tie the game at two at the time, and Fredrik Claesson were a solid duo tonight. The same to a certain extent for Brady Skjei and Adam McQuaid, as McQuaid has helped settle down Skjei slightly. So who are you pairing together once you separate Staal and Pionk?

Evidence of Staal's and Pionk's poor game and Shattenkirk/Claesson's solid contest:

Further confirmation of the same:

2) Think the penalty kill needs some work? (see below, plus the team has allowed 10 PPG in their last seven games) No Kevin Hayes doesn't help, but the lack of physicality on defense and scheme, in terms of how they defend, are huge problems on this squad. This is an area needing tremendous work in the offseason and in training camp next year.

3) Mathew Barzal had a goal and two assists continuing his assault on the Rangers. With his goal and assist, Barzal has 14 points (4G, 10A) in seven career games against the Blueshirts. After a slowish start to the year, Barzal lately has seamlessly stepped into the role as the team's #1 center following the departure of John Tavares, who scored goals #300 and #301 of his career tonight against the Devils.

4) Jesper Fast with one heck of a goal. His name has been rumored to maybe be available. I know that New York is in a rebuild mode, but players like Quickie are needed for now and the future. Unless the return is huge, he should remain a Ranger

5) Henrik Lundqvist - played okay, but if you ask him, he should have stopped Jordan Eberle's PPG. Barzal made a nice play on the breakaway for his tally and Anders Lee tipped in Nick Leddy's shot for a PPG. Bailey's goal was one where Hank didn't anticipate the play at all, leaving half the net open on the centering feed, which is what he said after the game. Good just not good enough by him. Lundqvist played in his 837th career NHL game, tying Hall of Famer Jacques Plante for 12th on the all-time list.

“I just didn’t pick it up,” Lundqvist said. “It’s a quick play. If I could read it better, come across with my body … but I felt like I was late coming across. I wish I could sit here and have the answers. It’s too bad. We played really well, especially in the third … that’s a tough one.”

6) Power play and third period - a 55 seconds 5-on-3 and 1:05 man-advantage wasted. Ryan Strome, who has been better since moved to center, got New York off to a good start with a PPG. But wasting that 5-on-3 and one man advantage came back to haunt the Blueshirts. Plus, I think we all knew once the Rangers had just one goal in the third despite carrying play in the period that somehow they would lose. Sure enough, this was the case.

Fare thee well to Rick Nash who announced his retirement today due to post-concussion syndrome. Nash may never have scored in New York as we all hoped when he was acquired, but he had a pretty darn career overall. His legacy in NY unfortunately is mainly defined by the shot in overtime in Game 5 vs. LA. A hair quicker or millimeter higher or lower, it’s Game 6 and Nash is hailed in Rangers land. Instead, as we all know, the shot was blocked and New York lost. Nash was not only an offensive force, but thanks to coach Mike Babcock's deployment of him in the Olympics, he became a 200-foot player, seeing time on the penalty kill while also morphing into a solid defensive forward as well. There should be a night or some kind of ceremony in his honor in New York but especially in Columbus, as he was the team's first overall draft pick in 2002 and built a solid career there before getting dealt to the Rangers.

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