Knights March Over Rangers as Blueshirts Fall 2-1 In Sin City

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Here is our recap of the Rangers 2-1 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights.

Mika Zibanejad – The lone offensive bright spot for the Blueshirts was Mika Zibanejad, scoring for just the second time since coming back from injury. Zibanejad showed off why he was sorely missed in his absence, especially on the power play, when he wired a wrist shot over the glove of Marc-Andre Fleury. Mika has been getting his game back in order since returning, and he’ll need to make his mark on games for the Rangers to make the playoffs.

Rick Nash – One thing you can say about Rick Nash is that he doesn’t get discouraged by the puck not hitting the back of the net. Nash had a few chances against Vegas and was noticeable on almost every shift he took. The pending free-agent is playing for his next contract this season and seeing that his level of play and energy isn’t diminishing because of a lack of scoring would interest many, if not all, NHL general managers.

Full Effort – One thing that has ticked me off for a while about the Rangers of recent memory has been a “laziness” when back-checking. This isn’t always, and it isn’t every game, but it seems like after a turnover in the neutral zone or any other transition chance against, you will have two or three players gliding back on defense. You may say that I’m overreacting here, but if it’s unacceptable for a¬†batter to jog to first base on a grounder to the pitcher, it should be equally unacceptable for a guy to not backcheck with full effort.

And you’ll see it here. Three Rangers gliding back and puck watching while William Karlsson skates down the opposite wall for a wide-open one-timer. There was no communication, no initiative taken by any of the other players to be engaged on the backcheck, aside from Shattenkirk trying to defend the pass from Reilly Smith. The Blueshirts aren’t going to be playing past early April if they don’t start treating every game like it could be the difference in their season; which considering how tight the Metro division is, it very well could be.

Ondrej Pavelec – The Rangers substitute¬†goalkeeper was strong between the pipes for Alain Vigneault’s squad. The Czech netminder stopped 32 of 34 Vegas shots, including this sequence in the second period.

Pavelec has been solid for the Rangers as the understudy to Henrik Lundqvist, even if his record doesn’t reflect his play. Unlike previous years of his career, Pavelec has given his team a chance every time he steps on the ice for the Rangers.

Next Game: The Rangers will return from their “bye-week” on Saturday when they host the Islanders at MSG. Puck drops at 1!


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