Quick Hits – Rangers vs Blue Jackets 2/26/17

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Here is my recap of the Rangers 5-2 loss to the Blue Jackets

  • Rick Nash – For the Rangers power forward, this season has been a little bit of a bounce back year. After an injury plagued 2015-16, Nash picked up his 18th goal of the season, which tied the game at 1 early in the first. Nash was stopped earlier on a breakaway by Sergei Bobrovsky, but he didn’t get discouraged. After Stepan dropped the puck inside the blue line for Jimmy Vesey, the rookie fired a cross-ice pass to Nash, who buried it past the Russian netminder. Nash has been playing like a man possessed this season, and it is nice to see that his hard work is starting to pay off.
  • Jesper Fast – Speaking of hard working Rangers, Jesper Fast has been just that for every shift he’s ever taken with the Blueshirts. In his last five games, the Swedish winger has picked up three points (G, 2A). He is at 20 points on the year, which is good enough for his second best season in the NHL. If more players played the way he does, the Rangers would be even tougher to play against.
  • https://twitter.com/BlueSeatBlogs/status/836014525757415424

  • Brandon Pirri – When you are a player that is called a “power play specialist”, there are certain expectations. One of which is that you get your shot on net. And while Pirri did have 5 shots on net in this one, only two were during the Rangers man advantage situations. In one sequence in the first period, with the Rangers on the PP, Pirri had three shot attempts; the first two went over the net and caught the glass, and the third was a relatively easy stop for Bobrovsky. Pirri is fighting for his ice time as it is, and if he isn’t going to be able to do the things he was brought in to do, then it may not be worth him playing at all. I’d rather see Matt Puempel or Pavel Buchnevich (when healthy) in that fourth line wing role.
  • Special Teams – A strong case can be made that this game was won and lost in the first period. The Rangers were unable to cash in on their power play chance, while Columbus scored on theirs. The Rangers power play has struggled mightily in the last two months, and AV and the coaching staff have about a month left to figure it out. Because once the playoffs start, they won’t be able to make too many major adjustments to the system.
  • Marc Staal/Nick Holden – The pairing of long time Rangers dman Marc Staal and newcomer Nick Holden has been fairly decent all year. They haven’t made too many mistakes, and have done a nice job for the most part. This game, however, was not good for the tandem. Both players were -2 on the night, and looked a step slow against Columbus. I wouldn’t expect this to be a sign of things to come, but this was a very “off night.”
  • Henrik Lundqvist – It was the first time that Henrik gave up more than three goals since January 17th against the Stars. And much like that night, there was not a whole lot of help in front of Lundqvist from his defensemen. Henrik has been playing well lately, and I just hope that this doesn’t discourage him in the next few weeks.
  • Wild Card Mentality – While a lot of people on Twitter have been saying that the loss was OK because of the standings, it is not something that fans should be happy about. Players are not focused on who they might play in April and hopefully beyond. But while we as fans have the license to prognosticate and predict what we think will happen, the team doesn’t want to go into the last stretch of the season with a “loser’s mentality.” The playoff standings will be what they will be, whether the Rangers end up in the wild card spot or in one of the Metropolitan division spots. Whichever side of the bracket the Blueshirts fall in, they will be going up against a good team, and will have to play their way through whoever it is they face. Once the team gets that check mark saying they’re IN the playoffs, then we can talk about good wings and “good losses.”
  • NEXT GAME: The Rangers will look to bounce back on Tuesday night when the Washington Capitals come to MSG. Puck drops at 7!


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