Quick Hits – Rangers vs Canadiens 2/21/17
Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images
Here is my recap of the Rangers 3-2 shootout loss to the Montreal Canadiens
4th Line – For all of the people that wouldn’t mind seeing Jesper Fast or Oscar Lindberg being moved, I would show them this game. These two players are heart and soul players, who grind and grind until they can barely skate. And all of their effort were rewarded in this one. With the Rangers trailing 1-0 in the first, Oscar Lindberg picked up the puck in his own zone, made a breakout pass to Fast. The pair entered the offensive zone with speed, and Fast hit Lindberg with a perfect pass, between the defenders skates, for a tap in by Lindberg. Both players kill penalties, play when the Rangers are protecting a lead and are the kinds of guys every NHL team needs.
Rick Nash – As has been mentioned, Rick Nash has been a different player this season. He is aggressive, skating hard and working his butt off to get the puck. Nash had five shots on net in this one, including two breakaways, and was able to cash in on the second of them to tie the game in the second. After being stopped by Carey Price on an earlier break, Nash took a pass from Ryan McDonagh, and shot the puck from the hash marks past the shoulder of the Canadiens goaltender. Nash can easily have 8-10 more goals on the season, but it is good to see that it isn’t discouraging his play. He works that much harder to get the puck and try to make a play with it.
“That line with Quickie, he’s such a hard worker and Oscar has been playing better. They’re getting o-zone time and looks.” – AV
Brady Skjei – To think that Brady Skjei is only a rookie is something that should make all Rangers fans very happy. Skjei has had his growing pains this year, but his overall game has helped the Rangers immensely on the back end. He is almost always in good defensive position, has great speed, and is able to put up points. He made a couple of good plays in this one, including breaking up a 2v1 by knocking the puck out of the air, and later, skating the puck out of trouble and getting the forecheck started. If he can keep developing, the Rangers blue line will have a good foundation moving forward.
Special Teams – You can easily argue that this game was lost because of special teams play. The Canadiens converted on one of their three power play chances, while the Blueshirts went 0/4. The Rangers PP has struggled mightily in recent weeks, including a 3/24 stretch since the start of February. The players and coaching staff keep talking about “simplifying”, but they have yet to show it. They still did the bump back pass on the breakout, but instead of it being a drop, it came from the bench area. If they want to simplify, they’d strip it down to the basics; get to the red line with speed on the walls, dump it in, get the puck and then set up and get shots to the net. It doesn’t have to be pretty, it just has to get results. And I can say this much; if they don’t figure it out soon, it will be an even bigger problem come April.
Henrik Lundqvist – If it wasn’t for Carey Price being at the other end of the rink, we would be talking about the timely saves that Henrik made. Lundqvist has completely regained his usual form, and helped secure the one point for the Rangers with stops like this one. For all of the fuss that was being made six weeks ago when Henrik struggled, he has done a complete 180. The way he is playing right now, he is all ready for the playoffs.
“I feel like my game has been good. I feel like I’ve been around the net, making a lot of plays and it paid off tonight.” – Rick Nash
NEXT GAME: The Rangers head north of the border on Thursday when they take on the Toronto Maple Leafs. Puck drops at 730!
LETS GO RANGERS!