Blue Notes

Steve Zipay takes you inside the locker room, home and on the road, with the New York Rangers, and also writes about the NHL, off and on the ice.

Observations, stats after a 2-1 loss

               Listen, the Rangers can win very few games scoring one goal.

               No forwards are scoring: Richards has five, Callahan (injured) three, Derek Dorsett one. That being said, and there’s no excuses, no fanboy here---there were some questionable calls that went against the Blueshirts Thursday in Philly. 

                In the first,  Zac Rinaldo tried to run Ryan McDonagh knee-to-knee but missed. No call. Derek Dorsett dropped the gloves with Rinaldo. Liked the response.  

              With two frustrated teams, tempers were due to flare and Brandon Mashinter and Wayne Simmonds traded blows, with Mashinter getting shots in early, but Simmonds had the better by the end. When Dorsett skated over to try to intervene, because he said he felt Simmonds was still throwing punches and while linesmen were breaking things up, jammed the helmet-less Mashinter’s head into the boards. Dorsett was rushed by Flyers and he ended up with a 10- minute misconduct.

              With three minutes left in the second period, Benoit Pouliot, who had earlier been denied with Steve Mason’s glove save, shoved Max Talbot into the boards from behind near the benches. Talbot, blood running from his nose, also appeared to injure his leg and stumbled off.  Pouliot was assessed a five-minute boarding penalty and a game misconduct.  I’m be surprised if Pouliot was suspended. Did not seem like intent to me. Said Vigneault: “I thought Pouliot was trying to go shoulder to shoulder, Talbot lost his step a little bit and fell awkwardly into the boards. ’’ Pouliot said he was told not to discuss the incident afterward.

              The Rangers and Talbot killed the first three minutes, but just after the horn sounded, Dan Girardi was hit high by Claude Giroux and Dominic Moore took exception.  No call.

             Again, you have to play through the referees. The Rangers, over the years, have had their share of breaks. But as soon as I saw the refs on the sheet last night, I turned to Andrew Gross in the press box and mentioned their names and said: “Watch the penalties.”  If you don’t believe me, ask Mr. G on his twitter or blog.

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                On the minus side: In the second, the Flyers could have taken the lead twice: Kimmo Timonen hit the post through a screen early and Luke Schenn hit the crossbar with six minutes left, but Talbot also made two quality saves one on Schenn and the other on Sean Couturier.  Early forecast: Talbot is ready to assume Martin Biron’s role, if the coaches find the right sports for him. Here’s the fear:  If the Rangers keep dropping in the standings, they could be forced to play Lundqvist more than necessary.         

            What did Talbot learn from his first NHL regular-season experience:  “There are lots of big guys. Got to battle through the screens and keep the garbage from in front of the net.”

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          If you didn’t see the post-game scrum, and had some of this and more quotes in the late story, Vigneault is being very measured in his comments. In his defense, as a  new coach cannot totally rip his guys in public, given their confidence level eight games into the year.

         “Our guys are doing a lot of the right things,” Vigneault said. “We used our speed, we spent a lot of time in Philly’s end. We tried to get pucks through, bodies in front, but give them credit. They did a nice job defending, their goalie made a couple nice saves. It was a tie game going into the third. We had done a real good job of killing that five minutes and gave ourselves a chance.I thought our guys tried extremely hard. They did a lot of the things that we’ve talked about. Offensively our execution might have been a little off on some occasions there, but it was a better effort in my estimation.”

         My take: Once the Flyers got the lead, they sat on it.  Second period was pretty good for the Rangers, who had 61 shot attempts overall, to 50 for the Flyers.

***

          Individuals? Well, Dom Moore (4 shots, won 7 of  9 drops) and Chris Kreider, (skated hard, used the body, six hits)  stood out for me among the forwards. Miller was good in spots and will improve. Derick Brassard cannot give up the shorthanded breakaway. On the other hand, what the heck is he doing over at the point? 

          More from Motown on Friday....

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