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NYR-PIT Game Two proves the kids are alright

John Dundon

Brady Skjei skating 2-23

Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

The Rangers responded in a big way by beating the Penguins 4-2 and evening the series at one game a piece.

The series shifts now to Madison Square Garden, where the Rangers went 27-10-4 in the regular season. The momentum would figure to be playing right into the Rangers’ hands. They’ll now control on-ice player personnel matchups, a huge plus for sure.

Henrik Lundqvist continued his recent playoff dominance over Pittsburgh. Lundqvist, feeling no ill effects from the eye injury suffered in game one, stopped 31 of 33 shots faced. The real story from a Rangers perspective in this one wasn’t king Henrik, though.

Two of the Rangers young guns lead the way and turned some heads in this one. Brady Skjei, 22, and JT Miller, 23, were particularly impressive—especially when you consider how new this all is to each player.

Miller was voted as the game’s first star, registering three primary assists. Miller’s seeing eye pass to Matts Zuccarello at 16:52 in the second period gave the Rangers a two goal lead from which they would never look back. Last season Miller registered eight points in 19 playoff games. After an impressive, breakout 2015-16, Miller is poised to make a difference when it matters most for this Rangers team—the post season.

Each of Miller’s three primary assists demonstrate what he’s been doing well all season: making a difference. If he continues to flourish, the Rangers top six forward group will have another key cog playing well.

In just his second career post season game (only his ninth NHL game(!!)) Brady Skjei played 19:02 and registered an assist. Skjei was flying out there today showing off his phenomenal skating ability, matching stride for stride with the likes of Sidney Crosby and Phil Kessel. It’s an encouraging sign for both the future and right now to see Skjei playing so well. He packs the size, skating ability and smarts needed to be an everyday defenseman in the NHL. In the absence of Ryan McDonagh, it is imperative that the defensemen on the left side each step up and do their part to fill those valuable minutes left void.

Skjei and Miler’s impressive showings mean nothing if they don’t get similar results in game three. If head coach Alain Vigneault continues to place faith in Miller and Skjei, the Rangers should continue to see similar results.

 

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Posted on April 17, 2016, in In the Crease and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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