Let me put this without anyone saying I’m calling Alexis Lafreniere a broke, or a disappointment, or somehow an example of how the Rangers don’t know how to feed teenagers.
But for the third game in Episode, in which open ice was a priority and the game was played in a confined space, David Quinn dropped the selection of the first overall design from the rotation in the second half of the third period.
The first overall selection of the design for 2020 resulted in two shifts worth 1:24 compared to the last 11:56 of the 2-0 defeat against the islanders on Monday, in which the visitors struck twice within 2:05 after a goalless first 51:15.
This after # 13 received two 57 second shifts over the 10:40 final of Thursday’s 4-2 win over the Capitals, a game after taking two 1:29 shifts in the 11th final : 13 of the 3 had received. 1 victory over the penguins on February 1st.
It’s funny. People assumed – and you, me and Felix Unger all know what happens if you do – that Lafreniere would naturally improve his game after scoring his first NHL goal with the game winner in Buffalo on Jan. 28 in However, the reason for this is that the 19-year-old’s game has stalled.
He is not so much on or around the puck. Instead he was stuck in a traffic jam and couldn’t get into the open ice. Of course it was also two games in a row in the third row with Brett Howden, who has many admirable qualities, but serving his wingers offensive is not at the top of that list.
Lafreniere played a total of 14:02, including 2:00 on the second unit of the power game, which brought little in this matter what could have had a Jacques Lemaire from around 1995 behind both benches for 40 minutes. The islanders had a more effective preliminary check than the rangers, who generally made puck-on-line changes and therefore had little chance of creating puck assistance. Lafreniere was credited with five hits but recorded no attempt to shoot.
Additionally, he was part of the group on the ice due to the mass confusion the 2-0 goal hit on his last shift, albeit perhaps the least guilty. That was Lafreniere’s last night shift, during which Kaapo Kakko got the time with the additional attacker, who had previously moved to 13th place.
Casey Cizikas scored a goal at 11:15 when he was hit by an unlucky one Giveaway from the left corner to nowhere benefited from Libor Hajek. Now the islanders broke out without resistance, as they were allowed to spend much of the night. Mathew Barzal snaked through the neutral zone and threw himself to Cal Clutterbuck, who took her to the right corner.
Somehow Matt Martin had sneaked to the left, unconsidered. The Rangers appeared to be frozen in time when Clutterbuck crossed a pass that Martin brought home from the left front door at 1:20 p.m. Howden and Anthony Bitetto, both on site, stood with their gloves out. Their requests went unanswered.
« It was a one-on-four game and we just didn’t play it well, » said Quinn, whose team played lockdown pretty well but blocked their own offensive game at the same time. « Clutterbuck is in the corner, we’re clearing the middle and our backchecker stops checking.
» We had four against two and I think everyone assumes someone else is going to do something. It was a bad read. It was just generally confusion because I thought we had too many people who had a chance to do something and nobody did anything. “
The Rangers were minimalist in the offensive zone. Semyon Varlamov, who went 120: 00 this season without giving up a goal in the garden, made a few nifty stops at Mika Zibanejad and Artemi Panarin’s after his shutout on the opening night, but the Blueshirts both couldn’t manage traffic in front of the goalkeeper yet second Generate opportunities. Pretty much everything done.
Zibanejad, who scored one goal and two assists in eleven games and had one point (one assist) in his last eight games, was more of a factor in the offensive zone. But Chris Kreider didn’t make a big impression, and neither did linemate Pavel Buchnevich. However, this unit was more effective than the Panarin-Ryan Strome-Kakko triumvirate, which delivered far more than it created.
There was a lot to like from the puck and in the defensive zone. The Rangers only fired 30 shots, just a few ticks over the 27.7 average that got them into the match, which is good for 10th place in the NHL. Last year the Blueshirts gave up with 34 hits against Per, the second most popular in the league. Two years ago they were 33.8 against per. This is real progress.
The Rangers won’t get a break in the schedule, the Bruins are next up for a couple on Broadway. They are not known for allowing a lot of open ice. We’ll see how much of any kind is given to Lafreniere late, when the game is at stake.
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