If you want to understand exactly what Fenwick is and what this graph, courtesy of Extra Skater, displays, then this is a good place to start. But the basic gist is this. The Rangers absolutely dominated this game in pretty much every conceivable fashion. The 2-0 scoreline doesn't accurately portray exactly how much better the Rangers were tonight than their counterparts. After the miserable string of games previously endured the most we could have asked of the Rangers tonight was to make the game competitive. They didn't just do that. And they didn't just win. They completely manhandled the Capitals. Is this a sign of things to come or an inevitable victory indicative of nothing? We'll find out. At least we know this team has it within them to be a good hockey team. Let's look at some of the things that happened tonight which led to the result.
System & Style of Play: Tonight there were, and there always will be, some substantial differences in the way Tortorella and Vigneault set up tactically and approach the game. Nonetheless, somehow Mike Milbury got this right; the Rangers looked a lot like they did in previous years under John Tortorella. A much more aggressive forecheck and north-to-south approach. Getting bodies in the center of the defensive zone to limit the quality of shots. That's not to say that John Tortorella's sytem is necessarily better than Vigneault's. This is pure conjecture on my part, but I think that the coaching staff realized during the western road trip that they were asking for too radical of a shift in philosophy and tactics much too soon. Tonight it felt like they were easing the players into the transition and allowing them to stay somewhat within their comfort zone. The Rangers will eventually function exactly as Vigneault and the coaching staff sees fit, but the team also needs to pick up some points along the way. Some compromise seemed apparent tonight and helped earn this result.
Henrik Lundqvist: Thanks for joining us, Henrik. The season started a few weeks ago, but better late than never. Though he got no help in front of him, Lundqvist was giving up uncharactaristic goals and rebounds and overall just looked shaky in the first few games. Tonight he looked like vintage Henrik. He made twenty-two saves to get his first shutout of the season. He commanded his crease with authority. I can't remember a single opportunistic rebound he left the Capitals. A very much earned first star, and you have to wonder what is going on in the minds of Alexander Ovechkin and the rest of the Capitals, who are still unable to penetrate Lundqvist.
Brad Richards: Especially with Rick Nash out, the Rangers need Richards to step up and be the player he was two years ago. He continued his hot streak tonight. He looked like the best Rangers forward, and the stats back that up. Two assists, which bring him to seven points through six games, Along with that, he attempted five shots, won 60% of his faceoffs, and delegated nicely on the powerplay. John Giannone has commented that he's never seen Richards in better physical shape, but I don't think there's much doubt that he's a lot more with it mentally as well. Whereas last year he was trying to force plays that weren't there and was indecisive with the puck on his stick, tonight - and so far this season - he looked much more poised and let the game develop in front of him before making a confident decision.
John & Dominic Moore: Both Moore's had their best games of this short season. John Moore cut down on the defensive gaffes and, in a 4v4 play where there really was not much developing, broke the scoreless tie with a wicked shot that rang off the post and in. In total, John had five shots in 15 minutes and was part of a powerplay that, despite not scoring, was making things happen. Dominic doesn't have as much to show in the way of the basic boxscore but was an important piece to tonight's victory. Dominic was a positive in the faceoff circle, made a handful of key plays in the defensive zone, and drew the Alexander Ovechkin penalty that led to John's 4v4 goal.
Brian Boyle: Continues to be underappreciated despite the important role he fills. Boyle led Rangers forwards in shorthanded minutes for a penalty kill that shut down the talented Capitals powerplay all four times. He had a neutral even strength Fenwick percentage - which basically means the Capitals and Rangers had about equal possession of the puck while he was on the ice - despite the fact that he was constantly going up against the Capitals' top line and started in the defensive zone over 60% of the time. If Boyle can be a key contributor on the penalty kill and do a competent job in the shutdown role at even strength then he absolutely has a spot on this team; an important one at that.
Ryan Callahan: The important goal - batted out of the air - to give the Rangers some breathing room. Six shots. Five hits. Two blocked shots. The prototypical Cally game.
Derek Dorsett: For managing to stay out of the penalty box. I also thought he did some good things on the forecheck. He and the rest of the fourth line had some good shifts where they kept the puck in the Capitals' end. Did I mention that he stayed out of the penalty box? With Asham in Hartford Dorsett becomes a very important player on the roster. They need him do the dirty work of fighting, throwing hits, getting banged up to make plays, etc. But most importantly, he needs to do that without any boneheaded penalties to show for it. Good step in that direction for him tonight.
The Rangers are off until Saturday, when they travel to Newark to take on the Devils.
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The one negative I saw to Dorsett's game was the botched 3 on 1 in the first period. I'm glad we got a shot on the play, but all in all, it was an awful read. But it was a great game from the Rangers.
Where are all the haters today? Oh wait i was one of them. Maybe the Caps suck, maybe the Rangers will get lucky and the whole division will suck. The Rangers that one expected to show up did (Cally) or their contact demanded (Richards) or hoped for (Brassard) and the defense, minus MDZ (with a system adjustment?) and finally Hank. Maybe with a few more adjustments i can turn myself around and start to like this team.
Did anyone notice the chemistry of the accidental line of Boyle,Moore and Dorsett? Maybe a 4th line one could be proud of.
Gotta love richie's play. Also our pk is really good. besides being shelled in those games it has looked very good. The power play also looks good but needs to convert.
Got to keep Zucc. The Rangers are not a large team and they are not tough and it is depressing that Hags, Cally and Zucc, three of their smallest players, offer the most grit and toughness. In fact, the few Rangers that weigh more than 190 lbs should be ashamed to skate on the same ice as these little dudes. So even though you have to get bigger, faster, tougher I don't think you get rid of anyone who has at least two out of three.
I loved how they played last night, great effort by all.
I wont get too excited though. I remember this same feeling last year. They would play really well for a game or two and then go on a 4+ game losing streak. I still like what I see and I hope and pray they can continue last nights efforts.
This team has the potential to be lethal if the D plays like it did last night and Hagelin and Nash get back on the ice.
Fire AV...no wait, he'll win the Jack Adams! Rangers will have a lottery pick...no wait, they'll win the Cup! Sorry, had to get all the knee jerk reactions out of the way!
Solid effort for sure. I really can't stand the NBC team, announcers and studio analysts. They're just awful and un-watchable! Richards is flying and looks like he's worth every penny of his contract so far. Stepan looks to be coming around, glad to see him back after that collision. I don't think Pouliot helped his cause much tonight and neither did Zuccs. Did Miller play at all? Fast looks pretty good defensively, he needs to be more active in the offensive zone. Boyle's trying to earn a new contract, and doing a pretty good job of it. Best game so far for McDonagh, he made a few great plays defensively. MDZ gets all the venom, but Stralman hasn't exactly been Mr. Dependable this season. Wouldn't be surprised to see him sitting next game in favor of Falk (who needs to learn to throw down a little better).
Didn't Stepan draw the Ovechkin penalty that led to Moore's goal? I'm 99% positive he did. That said, I agree D. Moore had a solid game. Speaking of Stepan, no mention of the hit? Was curious others thoughts cause I really can't decide on it (probably because NBC showed less replays than MSG would've). Otherwise great recap! (And thanks for putting fenwick in "stupid" terms - I'll understand that stuff someday lol)
Solid writeup...you are right about the moore's and Boyle...quick question, are there no longer game highligths associated with the reviews? I loved watching those things
Great recap...is about time they've at least made the D system more of a tweener type of thing between last year and what Vigneault ultimately wants. With the injuries up front/the kids not yet contributing offensively (or in the lineup) this team needs to play sound Defense first and grind out wins...
Good victory. Big difference in the competitive level between last nights Caps, who were inconsistant breaking out, flat on passes and generally slow compared with the teams that blew us out. If we start beating teams with a higher fight level then I'll be impressed but goid job none the leas. Henry was not getting pummeled with high percentage shots all night like out west either and its a bit deceiving when you say he didn't show up those games. He made spectacular saves out west but when your Opponents shoot at will and keep coming at you without defensive help the pucks gonna go in sooner or later and you're gonna look bad. Still good game keeping the Caps on their heals. I liked the more simple defensive game we used. A good coach adapts. We'll see
I think the only good thing about this data is that it proves that del Zaster isn't needed on this team and the Rangers should deal him quickly for some value.
nice to see that "zone" was back in flavor in last night's game..plus Del Zotto didn't play, so it's a double celebration
We play like that, we r competitive. But, I fear that we can't hold that pressure and intensity for every game for a whole season and then a long playoffs. That's a lot of sprints. Blocking shots levee bruises but sprints can easily deplete your energy
That graph is cool and all but it's kinda a buzzkill. Lede with a goal-hockey-hug-photo please. The atmosphere seemed to live up the the rivalry hype as the desperation and crowd noise was noticeable in the NHL.com highlights. 2 pts.
Brooksie and Bjurman (swedish reporter) reports that there were 15 scouts and a couple of GMs whatching the game. Is there a trade coming?
A bit quiet but I felt like Falk played a solid game. Played hard and physical without taking any dumb penalties. He's not a bad player. Just had a bad game last time around.
I feel like this game and the Kings game are what we can expect to see under AV (I hope). For the first 20 games it is not going to be pretty every night... But once they get it down-pat man could they take off if they play like this every night... Win or Lose, a game like this is way more fun to watch and entertaining because they have the puck for a majority of the time.
A lot of good things tonight, but most impressive besides Hank was the Richards Brassard Cally line... unbelievable tonight. Easily Brassards best game of the season
The bad was that Pouliot Zuccs and Pyatt were still big zeros, and honestly we did this to the caps without any semblance of a second line. Might be time to make some moves and get some of these guys out of here... especially Pyatt and Zuccs who to me have looked horrible.
O yea and I would much rather have Falk in the lineup... better or worse he brings some grit that we sorely need.... TRADE DZ for a top 6 forward that brings size or scoring PLEASE
Any coincidence no del zotto rangers D looks it's best it has all year? Mdz getting more than 20 minutes a night can only hurt this team right now. Keep him in the press box.
@Melissa (blknblueshirts) Tough to tell from the limited video, but it did look like it was just a collision and not a malicious hit. It looked like Brouwer didn't even move his arms or anything until they actually hit Stepan. He actually looks like he tried to avoid it at the last second but clipped Stepan's head. Stepan needs to be more aware and not put himself in that kind of position. If he wanted to hit him, it would have been MUCH worse.
@Melissa (blknblueshirts) Stepan hit will be analyzed at 11am.
@MannySanghera Highlights just added!
@knm05 Heard it was Munn's sister.
@_Jack Why do we have to choose? Can I have graphs AND hugs? I'm an affectionate nerd. Don't make me choose.
@_Jack Can't please everyone.
@LFredrikJonsson Can't find where Brooks said that. Do you have a link?
@LFredrikJonsson scouts/team personnel/gms attend all the games. all the time. its not an indicator of a trade more so than it's their job to be there.
@Trade DelZotto+Girardi4E.Kane I'd hold out on Zucc. He was amazing in the playoffs. Also I got pissed off when Pierre criticized him for turning his back while blocking a shot. He lays himself out against slapshots and he's not afraid to mix it up with enforcers a foot taller than him. It's not like his salary is an albatross either.
@Wallace1 I think everything clicks in a few games, when Hags and Nash come back I think we start seeing some permanent lines. That's when the scoring will come, imo.
@Wallace1 nah... its not that big a deal :P
@gravey94 That's kind of what I saw. Definitely could've been worse but I kind of agree with AV in that if he didn't see him, what was he looking at? He was in his eyesight for plenty of time before contact was made. Another view would probably help so guess see what league says (if anything).
@FREE MASHINTER The hit or the response? Please be the first one. You made your point on the response last night...
@FREE MASHINTER @Melissa (blknblueshirts) @gravey94 He went right to he bench since that's when the hit occurred so there was not ability to respond immediately. Pierre did mention that the Rangers players were incensed on the bench, but that AV told them to calm down and the ref even said if they didn't stop banding their sticks on the boards, they would get a bench minor. Can't really blame the players if the coach is telling them to stand down. Besides, it was 2-0, the team needed a win, and they didn't want to give a team with a 38% PP the chance to get in the game. Save it for the next time they meet.
@Melissa (blknblueshirts) @FREE MASHINTER @gravey94 I agree with you Kev about lack of response with this team often, but if the Rangers tried to instigate something to avenge Stepan and had to kill a power play against the No.1 team in the NHL at doing so, we'd be screaming about how undisciplined they are. double edged sword.