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Rangers trounce Blues thanks to Jimmy Vesey and Henrik Lundqvist

Bobby Bevilacqua

rangers-goal-celebration-11-1

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

The Rangers (7-3-0) continued their three game homestand against the Blues, and surprisingly cruised past the St. Louis Blues (5-3-2), seeing their offense explode for another five goals in a shutout victory.

Henrik Lundqvist recorded his first shutout of the season and the 60th of his career, stopping 35 shots in the process. Dan Girardi opened up the scoring with his second goal of the year, and that was followed by goals from Jimmy Vesey, Rick Nash, Mats Zuccarello and Kevin Hayes.

Since these recaps are getting super long due to the Rangers scoring a ton, I’m going to recap all of the goals first, then head into opinions and observations.

Here’s the recap;

  • The teams were pretty even early on, but the Rangers had some odd man rushes broken up by Jake Allen’s stick. It took less than 10 minutes for the Rangers to open the scoring, and it was Dan Girardi who matched last season’s goal total in just seven games. Ryan McDonagh forced a turnover, Chris Kreider found Girardi and it deflected off of the stick of Tarasenko and beat Jake Allen. Despite the deflection, it was a great shot with a lot of power. Well done Danny G.
  • Ryan McDonagh picked up yet another assist, his ninth of the season, and he now has and eight game point/assist streak. The captain is absolutely tearing it up this season and he’s playing fantastic in all areas of the game. He avoided an injury scare after two high sticks and skating into the boards.
  • Jimmy Vesey scored his sixth goal of the season just a few minutes later, cashing in on the power play. It all started with Vesey, who passed it to Brady Skjei at the point. He made a great pass to Derek Stepan, who dumped it off to Vesey for a point blank goal. The passing was sublime and Vesey scored yet again. Stepan picked up his 200th career assist on the play.
  • In the second period, Rick Nash scored his fifth goal of the season, this time from behind the net. After his initial shot missed wide, he hustled for the rebound and banked it in off of Jake Allen. Nash continues his excellent play to start the season.
  • About six minutes later, Mats Zuccarello scored a power play goal for his fifth goal of the season. Excellent puck movement led to a blast from Zibanejad, which created a rebound that Chris Kreider sent over to Zuccarello for a tap in. Kreider had two assists in his first game back and Jake Allen was removed from the game.
  • Kevin Hayes would score the fifth and final goal of the game on a perfectly executed odd man rush that showed off the talent of the youth on this team. Jimmy Vesey started the rush up the ice before passing it to Miller, who effortlessly kicked it from his skate to his stick, dumping it off to Hayes for the one timer. Picture perfect.
  • Henrik Lundqvist was absolutely spectacular tonight. While it didn’t seem like he faced 35 shots, he did make some spectacular saves. He robbed Robby Fabbri with the glove for his best save, but had a few other really impressive stops. This looked like the Henrik Lundqvist we know and love, and let’s hope he can continue playing like this.
  • The five goals the Rangers scored gives them 40 on the season, which is tops in the NHL, as well as their 4.00 goal per game average. This is just the ninth time in franchise history that the team has scored at least 40 goals in the first 10 games of the season, and the first since 1992-93. (via @StatBoy_Steven)
  • Jimmy Vesey became the first Ranger rookie to score six goals in the first 10 games of his career since Darren Turcotte (1989-99). (via @StatBoy_Steven)
  • Speaking of Vesey, he has come in and exceeded expectations by a longshot. His six goals are almost half of what I was anticipating for the season, and his nine points are tied for second on the team. It’s pretty remarkable how quickly he was able to adjust to the speed of the game and start contributing. And while there’s always room to improve away from the puck, he works so hard whenever he’s on the ice. Whether it’s hustling to backcheck or battling along the boards, he give 110% and I give him a lot of credit for that.
  • Vesey looks fantastic on the ice and part of that has to do with having Rick Nash on his line. The two have played extremely well together, with each of their skills and qualities perfectly balancing each other out while Derek Stepan provides a steadying force down the middle. This combination works and having the veteran Nash alongside the young Vesey has payed dividends.
  • Chris Kreider is still an absolute beast. First game back after missing four games, so you think he’d have some rust right? No. He was all over the ice and collected two assists to give him nine points in six games. This team is so dangerous and deep with him in the lineup.
  • JT Miller and Kevin Hayes complement each other very well. Miller could have double the amount of points he has now (3-7-10) if some bounces went his way, and he has been very effective this season. Hayes doesn’t look like a “different” player like some articles have said, he looks like the same guy last year but now playing with more talented linemates like Miller, Grabner, Buchnevich and others. Granted, Hayes does appear to be quicker and maybe faster, but this is the guy we saw in his rookie season. Either way, it’s nice to see these two playing very well.
  • It’s only 10 games so take this with a grain of salt, but I don’t think we need to worry about this Rangers defense. Ryan McDonagh looks spectacular and might get Norris Trophy consideration at this pace. Marc Staal looks better as does Dan Girardi. Their possession numbers might not be there, but defensively it’s fine. And Girardi has two goals and four points, which I certainly didn’t expect. On top of that, Skjei has been good and is starting to improve with his passing and set up skills, collecting four assists already. The defense has allowed just one goal in the last 140 minutes and I really think they’ll be okay.
  • Part of the reason they’ll be okay is because this offense is just so unfair. I can’t remember seeing a lineup anywhere that had this much talent and skill on all four lines. Every line can score, every line creates scoring chances, and every line is a threat with speed or skill. It’s spectacular to see AV’s system at work when he has the right players to run it, like he does now.
  • Eleven players have at least six points, while 12 players have a goal. It’s amazing how well spread out the production is and it backs up all of the points made earlier. That’s going to happen when the skill is spread out and everyone plays a similar amount at even strength like tonight.
  • This offense is good enough to make a deep run in the playoffs in my opinion. The defense looks better and smarter with their decision making and tracking back defensively, so they might be okay as well. And Henrik showed what he can do tonight. Obviously the 4 goals per game won’t last for an 82 game season, but any team that has this much talent and scoring

THREE STARS

1) Henrik Lundqvist – 35 SV, 1.000 SV%

2) Jimmy Vesey – 1 G, 2 A, 13:58 TOT

3) Chris Kreider – 2 A, 5 SOG, 14:59 TOT

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Posted on November 2, 2016, in Game Recaps and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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