The New York Rangers blew a two-goal lead with five minutes left last night and eventually lost in overtime in one of the most frustrating hockey games in a long time.
- Usually, we post our thoughts column the morning after a playoff game but honestly that game pissed me off so much that I couldn’t even rationalize my thoughts in time to do this.
- Like, seriously though, what the hell was that?
- This loss almost entirely falls at the hands of Alain Vigneault. Where have I heard this one before…
- In a game that goes to double overtime, how the hell do you only play Pavel Buchnevich and Oscar Lindberg just over five minutes each?
- The Rangers have two big advantages over the Senators. The first is obviously Henrik Lundqvist, who had no chance at four of the six pucks that went behind him. The second thing is the team’s ability to roll four scoring lines. The fact that Lindberg, Buchnevich and Vesey barely played is a joke and a horrible misuse of personnel.
- Expect to see Tanner Glass in the lineup for Buchnevich come game three.
The Final Straw
But back to Vigneault, for whatever reason, he kept putting the pairing of Nick Holden and Marc Staal on the ice in key situations, including the last five minutes of the game instead of playing the pairing of Brendan Smith and Brady Skjei who, you know, actually play well night after night.
Holden played 28 minutes, Staal 26, Skjei 22 and Smith 20.
I’m not kidding, that’s actually how an NHL coach divided up the minutes between his defensive pairs.
And if you were wondering if Vigneault learned anything from the loss, or even if he has any clue how to run his bench, boy are you going to be disappointed about the quote he gave Sean Hartnett via a conference call earlier today.
If you are still of the mindset that the Rangers shouldn’t let this Vigneault go, there is nothing left that I can do to convince you otherwise.
- Chris Kreider and Derek Stepan finally scored and they need to continue to find ways to score going forward if the Rangers want to come back in the series.
- Man, is J.T. Miller snakebitten. The guy can’t catch a break as he probably could have scored two or three times in the game and came up empty every time.
- Michael Grabner has been able to expose the Senators’ defensemen with his speed and has been extremely dangerous so far this series. He capitalized once last night but he is getting three or four grade A chances a game and he needs to find a way to capitalize at a higher percentage.
- There is still plenty of time for the Rangers to come back in the series and it is anything but over. They cannot go into game three with the mindset that they need to win four of five games. They need to take it, as Boomer Esiason always says, “one shift, one period, one game” at a time now. Go out and make the series 2-1. Once they do that, make it 2-2. If you can do that, you just need to win two out of three.
- The series has been really close even though the Rangers have been on the wrong end of bad luck and bad coaching. If they leave the defensive pairs alone–which it sounds like Vigneault is planning on doing–and put Glass back in, the Rangers are cutting their chances of making a comeback in half.