Lundqvist’s acrobatic saves and Lindberg’s red hot start propel Rangers in home opener
Wow! Hold on a second, let me say that again…WOW! I knew the Rangers were going to be good, but not in my wildest dreams did I think they would be this deep up front and explosive offensively.
Let’s start with just how amazing Oscar Lindberg has been to start this season. He now has 4 goals in 3 games this season. No, you don’t have to adjust yours eyes that’s accurate. Here’s a quick snapshot from our resident stats guru @HockeyStatMiner:
* Oscar Lindberg is the first Ranger rookie to score 4 goals in his first 4 NHL games since Steven King did it in 1992 (He played 1 game last year). Lindberg is also the first Ranger rookie to score 4 points in his first 4 NHL games since Carl Hagelin did it in 2011 (1 goal, 3 assists). Hagelin was also the last Ranger to have his first 5 NHL games be NYR wins, which Lindberg can accomplish should he be in the lineup for a NYR victory on Tuesday night.
For more incredible stats on this 3-0 start check out his latest Rangers Chew.
The young Swede scored twice before the period was just about 5 minutes old. His hot start was summed up beautifully by Dan Girardi during his intermission interview, “just get him the puck”. For Oscar, he’s just playing with instinct and getting the job done.
[su_quote cite=”Blueshirts United” url=”http://www.blueshirtsunited.com/article/rangers-overwhelm-blue-jackets-5-2-home-opener”]”I don’t try to overthink it, I just try and play,” said Lindberg, who was a +2 and was also credited with three shots on goal and three hits on Saturday. “Coming into today with this crowd, it was special. Winning the first three games and scoring all three, too, is pretty special.”[/su_quote]
To explain just how dominant the Rangers were last night, even the 4th line scored. A great cross ice feed by Jarret Stoll found Dominic Moore in front for a 3-0 lead. And yes, Tanner Glass played last night and didn’t hurt the team or his line offensively for those who like to cry about such things.
It should also be noted that the amount of Blue Jackets running around and taking liberties dropped dramatically last night. At the end of the first period, Glass went over to Scott Hartnell and rubbed him out on the board then got in his face. That was a response to Hartnell getting in Lindberg’s face earlier. When Glass came back to the bench, nearly every single teammate acknowledged what he did, led by the captain, Ryan McDonagh. Once again, this isn’t something you can capture on a fancy stats spreadsheet.
In other good news, Derick Brassard scored on the PP and that could help get him going. It wasn’t very pretty and it took a lucky bounce to make it happen, but a goal is a goal. Derek Stepan would close out the Rangers scoring in the third with the Rangers 12th goal of the young season.
Now to the real story of the game…Henrik Lundqvist. The level he is playing at this early in the season is beyond dominant. For more than two periods, he flashed his pads, blocker and glove and denied many incredible Columbus chances. His save of the game came in the second when the puck took a weird carom off the boards. With Lundqvist behind the net, he charged out and dove with his stick to stop Ryan Johansen point blank in front of a wide open net.
— NHL (@NHL) October 11, 2015
That is the stop that stands out above all the rest but it was one of about 6 or 7 that were incredible. Even though the Jackets would score twice late in the third, largely due to the Rangers really going into cruise control, Henrik earned the Broadway Hat as the player of the game. [su_quote cite=”NY POST” url=”http://nypost.com/2015/10/10/red-hot-rangers-put-on-clinic-in-dominating-home-opener/”]“There were a lot of chances,” Lundqvist said with a grin. “Playing three [games] in four [nights] — going into this game, the biggest challenge was to find that energy. But it’s fun to come back home and play here at the Garden again. It wasn’t hard to find that energy.”[/su_quote] As per Larry Brooks, head coach Alain Vigneault told Henrik to be ready and better to start next season. It was something that stuck with the King all summer long and it looks like it worked. One thing that didn’t work last night was Hank throwing his stick in the stands after the win, setting off a melee. Hey Henrik! You may not want to do that again.
So the Rangers now get a chance to rest their bruises before Tuesday’s tilt against the currently 2-0 Winnipeg Jets (who will play the Islanders on Monday). Considering that Jesper Fast skated in pregame warmups before being scratched in favor of the more physical Tanner Glass, it is likely he will get be re-inserted for that contest.