Rangers Shine Through the Lights-Out Performance in Seattle

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - NOVEMBER 17: Mika Zibanejad #93 of the New York Rangers celebrates with teammates after scoring during the first period against the Seattle Kraken at Climate Pledge Arena on November 17, 2022 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - NOVEMBER 17: Mika Zibanejad #93 of the New York Rangers celebrates with teammates after scoring during the first period against the Seattle Kraken at Climate Pledge Arena on November 17, 2022 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) /
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BUFFALO, NY – OCTOBER 12: Artemi Panarin #10 of the New York Rangers during the game against the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center on October 12, 2023 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Kevin Hoffman/Getty Images)
BUFFALO, NY – OCTOBER 12: Artemi Panarin #10 of the New York Rangers during the game against the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center on October 12, 2023 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Kevin Hoffman/Getty Images) /

Strategies That Left Seattle in the Shadows:

The Rangers brought their A-game, and one of the most impressive aspects was their defensive play. Seattle is known for playing a tight game on both ends, but Laviolette’s men found a way to counterattack.

In the neutral zone, the Kraken tried to prepare for New York’s 1-3-1 neutral zone trap, but it seemed like they were caught in a fishing net, struggling to execute it effectively. On the flip side, the Blueshirts had no trouble breaking Seattle’s 1-2-2 formation, like they were finding the right combination on a locked door.

It looked like a chess game when the Kraken set up their 2-1-2 formation in the offensive zone. Defenseman 1 (D1) had the puck and tried to find Forward 1 (F1), who was looking to pass to Forward 2 (F2) positioned in the slot. If F2 had some company from the defense, he could pass it back to D1, who crept in a bit, while D2 held down the blue line. Forward 3 crashed the net.

Now, here’s where it gets interesting. When there was a 50/50 puck battle along the boards, D1 took a bit of a risk by getting closer to the action, exposing the point area.

To cover for this risky move, D2 stepped over to provide support, and this strategy is what they call an “overload.”
Yet the Rangers matched it well with their tenacity. That was evident in Panarin’s first goal when Chytil passed through the four man overload to a wide-open breadman at the other end of the ice.

If F1 and D1 won the puck and got it away from the wall, D2 and F2 would join the attack. F3 would roam the area and adapt to the situation. He could help along the wall, or seal others off. However, there wasn’t much space for Seattle to work with. They only managed two shots in the second period. It’s like the Rangers built a fortress on ice!

Regarding Dave Hakstol’s breakout plans, Seattle traversed the puck between the defensemen (Ds) laterally, sometimes behind the net, and then directed it to Forward 1 (F1), waiting at the far blue line.
Forward 2 (F2) would sprint through the middle, attempting to regain possession in the offensive zone, with  the third forward crashing the paint.

On the defensive side, Seattle played it safe with a literal “box” defense around the net, Yet the risk was that this squeeze created more open ice, and the Rangers capitalized.