Quick Hits: Rangers vs Blue Jackets 11/17/17

Lundqvist Makes Save on Atkinson (Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)
Grabner Shoots on Bobrovsky (Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

Here’s our Quick Hits recap of the Rangers’ 2-0 loss to the Blue Jackets.

While the last game on Wednesday ended the Rangers’ win streak, tonight’s game started their losing streak. However, despite the score at the sound of the last buzzer, the game wasn’t nearly as bad as it seems. Bobrovsky was on-point, and while the Rangers had 36 shots on goal, they were unable to bury any of them.

Defense: After the 6-3 loss to the Blackhawks, Vigneault made one noticeable change to the defensive lineup. He removed Kampfer and put in Brendan Smith. Smith, who we haven’t seen in the past six games, played about as well as you’d expect. You could tell he was rusty after spending several games in the press box, but he did have some moments where he shined, particularly when he nearly scored on Bobrovsky. With a bit more playing, he’ll make a nice addition to the bottom pairing.

Power Play: The Rangers’ power play has looked out of sorts for the last two games, as they’ve gone 0 for 6, so something has to give. It looked absymal today, with the Blue Jackets getting several opportunities for shorthanded goals and the Rangers getting stuck in their defensive zone despite the man-advantage.

Pavel Buchnevich: After the Rangers’ 3 zone play broke down in the second period, Vigneault switched up the lines to start the third. The team, as a whole struggled to generate sustained periods of offense through the first two periods. This demoted Buchnevich to the bottom 6, where he’s no stranger to playing.

Henrik Lundqvist: It seems like I cover him every time I do a recap, but I promise it’s not out of favoritism. Tonight, Hank was in pristine form, carrying on a goaltender duel with Bobrovsky for over 30 minutes. He eventually lost, but not for trying. He made several key saves, including stoning Atkinson on three consecutive shot attempts, one of which was blocking a wraparound. He also bailed his defensemen out more than once. He faced 42 shots, saving 40 for a .952 save percentage in tonight’s game, so while the score doesn’t look good, the King still retains his throne.

Irony: Two coaches notorious for shortening their benches in tight games, John Tortorella and Alain Vigneault, seemingly each rolled four lines through most of the game. Some may wonder if this was the reason for moving Buchnevich to the 3rd line across from JT Miller as Vigneault’s hope may have been to stretch his lines out. No matter which way he shuffled it though, the Rangers were unable to quality chances despite 36 shots on goal.

The Rangers play again on Sunday at 7, and they’re back home at MSG. Until then!

LET’S GO RANGERS!