Rangers sweep Canada trip with 7-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks
Despite playing their third game in four nights and getting shelled in the first period, the Rangers (13-4-0) managed to come out of Vancouver with a 7-2 win thanks to an incredible offensive outburst from the team.
The Rangers got two goals apiece from JT Miller and Kevin Hayes, plus a three point night from Mats Zuccarello with a goal and two assists. Brandon Pirri (GWG) and Nick Holden also found the back of the net, while Mika Zibanejad, Kevin Klein and Jesper Fast each recorded two assists. Henrik Lundqvist was spectacular, making 36 saves to pick up his ninth win of the season.
For a box score, click here. Keep reading for my recap and thoughts on the game;
- The Rangers 13 wins through 17 games are tied for the most wins through the first 17 games of a season in franchise history.
- The offense is remarkable. They became the first team since the Buffalo Sabres in 2006-07 to record five or more goals in nine of their first 17 games. The Blueshirts have 72 goals in the first 17 games and they’re averaging 4.24 goals per game. They already have two 10 goal scorers, and 13 players with 10 or more points. The Rangers’ +34 goal differential, the best in the league, is higher than the amount of goals that the entire Buffalo Sabres team (30) and the Colorado Avalanche (31) have scored.
- The depth that the team has is remarkable. Jesper Fast (2-8-10) is 11th on the team in points. If he played for the Islanders, he would be third. The opening night fourth line of Michael Grabner, Brandon Pirri and Jesper Fast have combined for 17 goals and 33 points. This kind of depth is what makes the Rangers this competitive.
- The Rangers had a disastrous performance a week ago to the Canucks at home, and it looked to be heading in the same direction tonight. The Canucks were coming at them fast and hard, and wound up with 17 shots on goal in the period. If it wasn’t for a great performance from Lundqvist to start the game, things might not have gone so well.
- Hank finished with 38 saves and seems to have settled into a groove now and is back to his old self. In his last nine starts, Lundqvist is 8-1-0 with a 1.89 GAA, a .936 save percentage and a shutout. It’s nice to see him at his best again, that really helps the Rangers out.
- JT Miller salvaged the period with an expertly deflected puck past Jacob Markstrom with less than two minutes to go. He called for the puck early, got a perfect pass from Mats Zuccarello and made sure to finish that chance. That really kept the Canucks from having momentum after the first period.
- While the whole game wasn’t necessarily all that great for New York outside of the goal scoring, the second period was one of the bright spots for the Rangers. About halfway through the period, Kevin Hayes scored on a slap shot blast after the Canucks left him alone on the wing. Brandon Pirri broke a goal drought by putting a rebound past Markstrom on the power play. The Canucks would get one goal back at the end of the period but the Rangers took a two goal lead and wound up having the shots tied at 8 apiece.
- The Rangers didn’t take long to start scoring in the third period, with Kevin Hayes and JT Miller scoring their second goals of the game. After Markus Granlund cut the lead to 5-2, Mats Zuccarello and Nick Holden scored to make it a blowout.
- The Rangers offense is genuinely remarkable. While it’s a bit concerning that these high score lines aren’t coming as a product of a lot of shots and sustained pressure, you can tell that this offense is improved. The passing is much better, the goals are a result of good hockey, good set up and higher quality scoring chances. The way they score the goals is a positive sign, but the lack of sustained pressure is concerning.
- In fact, some parts of their play reminds me of the Rangers team from last October and November. Last year the team started out with a great record, but it was all because of Henrik Lundqvist and a high shooting percentage covering up for an awful defense. This season, the defense is definitely improved and the offense is playing better as well. Definitely less of a reason for concern. But still something to look out for.
- Depth is the biggest key. The team’s two leading scorers, JT Miller and Kevin Hayes, are on the third line. Both Miller and Hayes have really developed into bonafide NHLers, and it’s really exciting watching them play every night. Hayes looks the most improved, with a new element of speed and increased defensive responsibility to his game. Miller has a nose for the net and just knows how to score in every way. They might be the two most important Rangers forwards on the team.
- Mats Zuccarello may have had his best game of the season last night. He’s the best passer and playmaker on the team, and that was showcased last night. He has 13 points (7-6-13) and has been a key, steady presence on the second line despite a rotating cast of wingers.
- I didn’t notice Boo Nieves a whole lot, but he played well enough in his NHL debut. He didn’t look out of place and was fine on the fourth line. My guess is that he plays in the team’s next game.
- The Rangers will play the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday as they look to extend their win streak to four games and sweep the road trip.
Posted on November 16, 2016, in Game Recaps and tagged Alain Vigneault, Henrik Lundqvist, Hockey, JT Miller, Kevin Hayes, Mats Zuccarello, New York, New York Rangers, New York Rangers blog, NHL, NYR, NYR blog, Rangers, Rangers blog, Rangers highlights, Rangers recap, Rangers vs Canucks, Vancouver Canucks. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.