The New York Rangers lost Game 3 by a score of 3-1 last night at MSG. Similar to many times during the regular season, they beat themselves.
By Chris Wengert
Yesterday I wrote that the New York Rangers would need to finally impose their will and end their inconsistent play that fans witnessed last playoff season.
Well, last night’s third period looked eerily similar to Game 7 from last year’s Eastern Conference Finals against Tampa Bay.
The Rangers had four shots in the third period of a game that would have put them up 2-1 in the series.
So I guess not much has changed, eh?
The Rangers stepped onto their home ice to a raucous Madison Square Garden crowd, and were played well for 40 minutes.
The Rangers had jump, were quick with their transition game, and saw some prime scoring chances as a result.
Oh sorry, “Grade A scoring chances”.
But in order for scoring chances to truly be scoring chances you have to shoot the puck, and that’s something that the Rangers refused to do last night.
Visit Elite’s New York Rangers Center
Dominic Moore was the biggest culprit, as he passed on (see what I did there) more than a few chances to fire the puck on a green Matt Murray.
On one of those opportunities, Moore had open ice at the high slot, yet refused to shoot.
Accompanying Moore in the “I had a bad game” department was Dan Boyle, who should shoulder most of the responsibility for Pittsburgh’s second goal.
In an attempt to give Keith Yandle some support, Boyle made a lame attempt to find the puck. He failed, comically ran into Yandle, and gave Matt Cullen a clear break to Henrik Lundqvist.
Bad, bad, bad.
And this is where Rangers’ fans should be nervous for Game 4, because I can almost guarantee that if Dan Girardi is even somewhat serviceable that he will play tomorrow.
Sam Rosen was praising Ryan McDonagh throughout the broadcast last night, stating that he had been great with his puck movement, but I couldn’t disagree more.
His puck movement may have been OK, but the rest of his game was slow and mostly ineffective.
Simply put, McDonagh shouldn’t have been playing yesterday.
When he was injured in the regular season the team actually fared pretty well, and with the speed and intensity ratcheted up in the playoffs the Brady Skjei or Dylan McIlrath options may be the better choices.
A lot was made of the Rangers physicality following Game 2, and while that style of play did help them earn a victory, they went overboard in Game 3.
Portions of last night’s game reminded me of Game 7 in 2013 verses the Washington Capitals.
In that game the Caps spent more time trying to hit everything and everyone, and they paid for it.
You could say the same about the Rangers in the first two periods last night, as they tallied 17 hits but were visibly exhausted in the third period.
That’s when the Rangers started to play their dump and chase game, but often forgot to actually chase.
Rather than sending two forwards to the puck, only one Rangers player would chase the puck. That’s an easy match-up for Pittsburgh’s defense.
And then there was the offsides call that negated the Rangers first goal.
The NHL really needs to figure out what the actual rules are, and how the review process can be effective.
Why does a players skate have to be on the blue line to be onside? If his skate hasn’t yet broke the plane, the call shouldn’t be offsides.
Also, the fact that coaches can challenge a play that isn’t apart of the actually goal sequence is a fallacy. It’s a privilege that has benefited the Rangers at times, yet I still disagree with it.
So here the “have to make everything hard” Rangers stand, down two games to one.
Which Ranger team will show up in Game 4? Who knows.