NYR 5 VS. NYI 3: Tilt’s Takeaways and Highlights

NYR celebrate Pirri's PPG on opening night. (NYR/GETTY)

NYR celebrate Pirri’s PPG on opening night. (NYR/GETTY)

The Rangers opened up their 90th season with a win on home against the rival Islanders. Here’s my takeaways sprinkled with some highlights from the game.

Tilt’s Takeaways
Rolling, Rolling, Rolling

One of the biggest keys to this Rangers victory was the depth up front. Alain Vigneault must be so happy that he can play 4 lines without flinching. Oddly enough, the man who opened the scoring played the least. Michael Grabner finished with 10:47 of ice, but set the tempo for the Rangers by driving to the net and burying a rebound. Check everyone’s ice time below.

Mika Zibanejad looks really good in Blue

Not a bad debut for the man that we traded Derick Brassard for. Zibanejad was a force all night using his speed and skill to control play. He played 17:40 minutes (2nd among fwds) and finished with 2 points.

His first point as a Ranger came off a fortuitous bounce when Mats Zuccarello banked one off an Islanders defender.

RELEASE THE KREIDER!

With the game in the balance at 2, Chris Kreider grabbed a lob feed from Pavel Buchnevich and did Kreider things. I stated in one of my 5 Bold Predictions that he would score 40 and if he continues to make plays like that, he’ll make me look good.

The PP needs to stop over passing because…

Can anyone tell me what happened to the crisp PP I saw during the preseason? You know the one that was either setting up Zibanejad from the right or Pirri from the left. All I saw was way to many passes and not enough shots. They did finish with 10 PP shots to be fair.

The Rangers finished 1 for 5 on the man advantage and need to start converting more of these opportunities. When they finally did, it was exactly one of those two players. Brandon Pirri buried the game from the right circle on beautiful passes from Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider.

J.T. Miller iced the game with an empty netter.

Snap Shots

The Rangers defense was actually pretty good for most of the game. They did have a lapse in the third period, (i.e.seeing Staal sprawled on the ice) but overall they were solid. Dan Girardi played a rock solid game and hopefully can continue. On the other hand, Ryan McDonagh was a rock defensively. He made several strong plays on Tavares but did struggle to control the puck on the PP a number of times.

Jimmy Vesey and Pavel Buchnevich looked really poised and comfortable out there for a couple of rookies. Vesey had a few really good chances early, but started getting too fancy with the puck. He needs to shoot when he’s on the PP.

On the other hand, Buchnevich made a risky pass that led to the Isles first goal, but he made up for it with that feed to Kreider on the game breaker. You also saw Jesper Fast take his spot late in the 2nd period with the lead, expect that to continue. I will be eager to see how they plays as they continue to build confidence.

Henrik Lundqvist looked real strong this game and it was tough one for him. There were stretches where he didn’t see a shot and then had to come up big on several point blank shots. His best save came late in the third off Casey Cizikas, when he stopped a rebound right in front. The King defended his castle very well…now just limit playing the puck Hank.

Overall, save for 5 minutes to start the third, the Rangers played excellent.

NYR 5 V NYI 3 (ESPN GAMECAST)

NYR 5 V NYI 3 (ESPN GAMECAST)

Anthony Scultore has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL since 2014. His work also appears at... More about Anthony Scultore

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