Quick Hits – Rangers vs Canadiens 1/14/17
Francois Lacasse/NHLI via Getty Images
Here is my Quick Hits recap of a very disappointing 5-4 loss to the Canadiens
Kreider-Stepan-Zuccarello line – Amidst the Rangers myriad of injuries, this line has emerged as the team’s most consistent offensive threat. The trio had three points on the night, including a goal by Stepan, and has been putting up points on a nightly basis. When the team returns to full strength, which should be soon, this line should stick together.
Rick Nash – Rick Nash looked solid in this one, playing in his second game since returning from his groin injury. He picked up the Rangers second goal of the game, after Price stopped Kevin Hayes on a partial breakaway. He has looked like the Rick Nash of 2014-2015 when he scored 42 goals. When he has been healthy, he has been the dominant player he was that made him an NHL star.
JT Miller – it was a good night for JT Miller, who was involved in both the physical and finesse in this one. Early in the game, after a high hit by Andrew Shaw on Jesper Fast, Miller challenged Shaw and dropped the gloves. Then, with the Rangers short handed, Miller took a beautiful pass from Kevin Hayes and scored to give the Rangers a 3-2 lead. He has quietly put up 42 points on the season, and for a bottom six player in this forward group, he has been a silent “killer” for the Blueshirts.
Adam Clendening – This was a game that Clendening did not look good in. He was on the ice for two of the Canadiens goals, including the game winner from Paul Byron when the puck deflected off of Clendening and in. The defense as a whole did not play well, but it was not a good night for Clendening in particular, who registered a -1 in this one.
Kevin Klein/Brady Skjei – Joining Clendening in the bad night department are Kevin Klein and Brady Skjei. Klein was a -2 and Skjei a -1. The two were paired together, and were on the ice for the Canadiens second goal of the game. Skjei looks like he has fallen off a little bit, going through the rookie grind of the NHL season. Klein on the other hand is a complete mystery. For a player that was supposed to be solid coming into the season, he has looked inept the entire season. He is always cheating the play trying to get the Rangers on the attack, which means he is almost never in good defensive positioning. His problem he doesn’t have any real trade value because of his poor play, and he hasn’t earned his ice this season. When Staal comes back from his concussion issues, Klein should be the odd man out, and in the mean time, I hope that Jeff Gorton is working the phones for another defenseman or planning on calling up someone from Hartford.
Ryan McDonagh – It was an interesting night for McDonagh, who had an assist on the Pirri PPG, but also did not have his usual defensive game. He made a great play diving to prevent a shot on a breakaway, but that happened after the puck bounced over his stick. In addition, he was on the ice for the Canadiens fourth goal by Pacioretty, after he and Girardi were too wide on a pass up the middle. I am not in the least bit worried about the captain, but it was not one of his usual games.
Henrik Lundqvist – Henrik Lundqvist has not been himself all season. He has had some good stretches, but he has been off all year. And in this one, after being forced to enter due to an injury to Antti Raanta, Henrik was all over the place. He looked like he was fighting it from the moment he came into the game, and his defense definitely did not help him out. And whether you feel the defense plays better in front of Antti Raanta or not, the fact of the matter is that Henrik has not had a good season. After the game, he looked like he was embarrassed with his performance. He joked after the Flyers game a couple weeks ago that he felt he was fighting for his ice time. And while I do believe he is the number one, you can’t help but wonder how much longer AV can keep running out Henrik, when Raanta has been the better goaltender this season.
Special Teams – The Rangers special teams statistically had a good night, but when you look at it, it wasn’t as productive as it could be. The Rangers cashed in on their first power play opportunity with this rip from Brandon Pirri. But with the Rangers on a five minute power play, the Blueshirts could not score, and that gave the Canadiens a good amount of jump to get their game going. And in the third period, with the Rangers having just gone down 5-3, the Canadiens took a penalty, but the Rangers could not muster up a single shot on Carey Price. The power play scored, so they were 1/3 on the night, but they didn’t score when it mattered most. As for the penalty kill, it looked very good, killing off both Canadiens power plays and scoring a shorthanded goal from JT Miller. After a brutal PK last season, the Rangers penalty killing has been solid all season.
NEXT GAME: The Rangers will look to get off their two game schneid on Tuesday night when they take on the Dallas Stars. Puck drops at 7!
LETS GO RANGERS!