Game 4: The Rangers must enter the zone

When Tanner Glass is your most noticeable player, there is a problem. The Rangers came out of Montreal possessing a 1-1 tie, the goal any visiting team has. Now, they find themselves down 2-1, and the pressure is immense heading into game four at MSG.

Yes, it was clear that the only player who tried yesterday was Henrik Lundqvist, and arguably Zucc, but that was not the only reason the Rangers lost. Here are my thoughts:

  1. The Neutral Zone Trap: Just as history repeats itself, so do strategies in hockey. The ’95 Devils who lifted the Stanley Cup in the lockout-shortened season, were most famously known for the Trap. Yesterday, the Rangers had trouble getting into the offensive zone because three Canadian players stood up at the blue line while two fore-checkers pressured the Rangers in the Neutral zone. Below is a good representation of that strategy. TrapSolution: In order to sustain offensive pressure, the Rangers must dump the puck softly into the offensive zone. That way, the puck does not carom around to the second best puck handling goalie in the NHL, Carey Price (1st best: Ben Bishop). Then the Rangers have to go hard into the corners and win the board battles. Lastly, you get the puck to your defenders at the point and go from there.
  2. Canadians collapsing in front of Henrik: Henrik Lundqvist has established himself as one of the best goalies in the NHL. If he sees a shot he is going to stop it. The Canadians have been getting bodies in front of Hank and not allowing him to see the shots. cut-2.jpgSolution: Defenders have to push away screening players without screening their own net-minder Hank. The Center also has responsibility in clearing away defenders. The wingers have to make sure that the defenders cannot find a shooting lane and shadow players behind the net so no key passes can be made into the slot.
  3. This final point is simple, more effort: It was blatantly clear that the Rangers put no effort into the game last night.rangers-open-msg-whimper-2-0-loss.jpgSolution: The Rangers must bring their A+ game in order to prevent themselves from being on the brink of elimination. Key players have to play well. Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider cannot be invisible like they have been thus far.

Post-game comments:

J.T. Miller: “We have to find a way to execute on the ice and put together a 200-foot game, passing and obviously special teams have to be better.”

Ryan McDonagh called out the lack of shots: “If you look at the shots, we don’t get a lot of shots.”

Henrik Lundqvist: Yes, they are a good team. We have to give more at home, in the playoffs, or we aren’t going to win. We need more; it’s as simple as that.”

Coach AV:

“They’re playing very well defensively, You have to give them a lot of credit. Structurally, they’re very sound and at this time. Right now our best line is our fourth line. Our top players need to find their game. They obviously don’t have it right now.”

“We have another game on Tuesday, You have to get yourself in a mental zone to execute. That’s what we’re going to work on tomorrow and Tuesday morning.”

Wrap Up: The Rangers have another game tomorrow, they have to find a way to enter the offensive zone. Until then, I hope the team just gets some sleep.


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