Quick Hits Recap: Rangers down the Hurricanes for a much needed win
Despite a pretty rough first 40 minutes, the Rangers (16-7-1) managed to shake off their slow start and score three unanswered goals to defeat the Carolina Hurricanes for the 12th straight time at Madison Square Garden.
The Rangers struggled to get much of anything going for the first two periods, managing just 12 shots on goal and giving up two goals to former Ranger Viktor Stalberg in the first period. But if there’s one thing this team has been able to do this season, and that’s capitalize on their chances and come back from early holes.
The first Stalberg goal came after Nick Holden made a weird play, kicking the puck right to the crease after blocking a shot, and it went right to Stalberg. Holden then missed his block and seemed to screen Lundqvist, which led to the goal. The second was a truly awful play by Kevin Klein, who lost the puck and essentially gave it to Jay McClement. He passed it to Stalberg as Rick Nash tripped and fell into Lundqvist. Easy finish for Stalberg.
In the second period, which was pretty awful for the Rangers outside of the goal from Holden, the Rangers weathered the storm. Holden would score on a broken play, but a good play from the big defenseman. Lundqvist made 12 saves in the period to keep Carolina from getting a bigger lead.
In the third period, Rick Nash took over. He had already been having a good game, but his incredible backhand goal just 24 seconds into the final period set the tone. With the Rangers pressing more and getting some quality chances, it was Jimmy Vesey who finally broke out of his goal scoring slump with the game winning goal on the power play.
Here are some of my thoughts and observations from the game;
- The first two periods were concerning. It was a pretty bad showing from the Rangers, who truly looked like the team that has struggled for two weeks and was falling apart in front of our eyes. No real push offensively, little possession or quality zone entries, and defensive breakdowns. It looked too much like the dreadful Ottawa game. Despite the win, this cannot be the norm.
- Nick Holden made a weird play on Stalberg’s first goal, but it’s time to admit that he’s become a real asset to this team. Sure, he’s not the flashiest player or someone with the puck moving skills of Keith Yandle, but he’s steady and dependable. In the last 15 games, he has 10 points and has been producing offensively. He’s not the one we need to worry about.
- Brady Skjei is another player that is really looking good on defense. He’s so smart with the puck, and he knows how to start transitions and zone entries effectively. His 12 assists are second on the team and he’s so extremely close to his first goal, you can sense it. Skjei has been dependable and in my opinion, has earned a shot on the top paring with McDonagh. That could be magnificent.
- For those of you that want Adam Clendening to play, stop calling for Vigneault to scratch Holden or Dan Girardi (except on back-to-backs, that’s reasonable). Instead, it’s time to admit that Kevin Klein just doesn’t have it so far. He’s gone from being an extremely reliable second pairing player, even first pairing at times, to making mistakes every night. Klein looks absolutely lost and I would like to see the team without him for a game.
- Rick Nash is an incredible player, and he showed that in this game again. His backhand goal was Crosby-esque, and something that only a high-skill player can accomplish. He can singlehandedly take over a game, like he did tonight. When healthy, you can basically pencil Nash in for 30 goals, plus he’s one of the league’s best defensive zone players. With all of the youth in the forward group, Nash is an incredible asset for this team.
- Jimmy Vesey really needed that goal. This was his first goal since Nov. 12, a span of nine games. He was playing on the fourth line, not getting as many minutes and struggling. But Vigneault put him back on the second line, gave him 15 minutes of ice time and it paid off. Vesey scored the game winner, a power play goal, and has eight goals and 14 points in 24 games. Pretty damn impressive overall for the rookie. I have a feeling that Vesey will be a very important player down the stretch for this team.
- This was not a win that makes you feel super relieved or confident in the team. It was a relief that they got a win in a game where they played poorly for two periods, but the same problems persisted. I know Vigneault doesn’t have many options on defense, but shuffling around the pairs and getting Clendening in (McDonagh-Skjei, Holden-Girardi, Staal-Clendening) would do wonders in balancing the depth and helping the Rangers figure out their transition and breakout game. The speed has been taken away from them in the past few games, and it all starts on the blueline.
- The Rangers next game will be in Buffalo on Thursday night.
Posted on November 30, 2016, in Uncategorized and tagged Cam Ward, Henrik Lundqvist, Hockey, Jimmy Vesey, Justin Faulk, Lee Stempniak, Madison Square Garden, MSG, New York Rangers, New York Rangers blog, NHL, Nick Holden, NYR, NYR blog, Rangers, Rangers blog, Rangers highlights, Rangers recap, Rangers vs Hurricanes, Rick Nash, viktor rask, Viktor Stalberg. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.