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Quick Hits Recap: Rangers down the Hurricanes for a much needed win

Bobby Bevilacqua

rick-nash-goal-celebration-11-29

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

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.
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Posted on November 30, 2016, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I totally agree, It’s time for Klein to take a seat for a while and let Clendening get a chance to play. First off Klein is having a terrible season and I’m not sure why this would happen. I know he had back problems when the season started and having had back issues half my life I know it can really make it hard to do things you normally could do with ease. But he is making mental mistakes all the time. That play last night still has me bafffled. I don’t know what he was thinking there. As far as Clendening, I’m sure the guy would be playing his hardest trying to earn a spot or at least show what he could do just like any other player who’s been sitting out all this time. Hes supposed to be the guy who could move the puck out of our end and we could use that right now. He would bring some fresh energy to the team too. I thought he was gonna get more playing time then what he’s got so far which is almost nothing. I thought he was gonna play once in a while to let guys like Girardi and Staal some rest. It’s funny how things work out, everyone was worried about Girardi and Staal but they’ve been fine for the most part and it’s Klein that’s struggling instead. Klein has been such a bonus for this team since he’s been here but not this year, not yet anyway.

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