Vancouver Canucks 3 at New York Rangers 4 – 2023-02-09 recap

In my view, as exciting as the game against the Devils was, that’s as how unexciting the game against the Rangers was.

I still don’t really know what to make of the Rangers. They’ve gone through stretches, both this season and last, where they’ve really put it together at 5v5 and look like a juggernaut in front of probably the best goalie in the world. Other times they look disorganized and unable to move the puck the shortest distance.

Wednesday was one of those nights. It wasn’t the worst hockey game I’ve seen this season, but it was very dull. Both teams took a night off and opted to attempt long stretch passes and would occasionally recover a turnover deep in the zone to set up some form of possession.

20% of entry attempts by the Canucks forwards failed at the blueline in this game, up from 13% against New Jersey and 16% on the full season. Those few extra percentage points are only a couple of extra failed entries per period, at most, but it makes a big difference when you’re watching the game and nothing’s really happening. Rick Tocchet is right, in that if you aren’t going to get the puck in with control, at least get it deep, and given an opportunity for your forecheckers to do some damage. Despite the fact the Rangers defence, even Adam Fox, were handling the puck like Coke machines, the Canucks whiffed on an opportunity to generate extended cycle sequences and forecheck chances (they did convert on 2 of their 3 chances off the forecheck in the game, however). If you can’t skate with the puck, at least skate without the puck.

It was a sluggish game and another one-goal loss in a game the Canucks probably shouldn’t even have been in, but every game has to have a winner, deserving or not.

So, let’s just get this recap over with, burn the game tape, and hope for a better contest in Long Island tonight.

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