Quick Hits – Rangers vs Capitals 2/19/17
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
Here is my recap of the Rangers 2-1 win over the Washington Capitals
Mats Zuccarello – The Rangers diminutive winger scored his first regular season goal against the Capitals in seventeen career games in this one, and it proved to be the game winner. With the game tied at one in the third period, the Rangers had an offensive zone faceoff. Centerman Mika Zibanejad won the faceoff cleanly to Chris Kreider, who found an open Zuccarello. After fumbling the puck for a second, the Norwegian beat Capitals goaltender Philipp Grubauer between the legs to give the Rangers the 2-1 lead. Zuccarello picked up goal number 12 and point number 43 on the year, and is now just three points behind JT Miller for the club lead. He is having another solid season, and should he score 62 or more points, it would solidify this as a career year for Zucc.
Chris Kreider – It was the Rangers winger’s 300th career game in the NHL, and he showed why he’s become one of the NHL’s most feared power forwards. He was all over the ice, throwing his weight around, blocking shots and had the assist on Zuccarello’s game winner. Kreider has had a very good season, and he has not shown any signs of reverting back to his old “gliding” habits, which have plagued him the last couple of years.
Balanced Offense – One of the reasons the Rangers have been so successful this season has been their ability to roll four lines every night. And in this one, it was no different. The Rangers registered 30 shots on net, and got 23 of them from their forwards, and had 11 of those 23 come from the Rangers third and fourth lines. The Blueshirts have relied on their depth thus far, and the Rangers having that ability will give them an edge down the stretch.
Ryan McDonagh – Who better to score the opening goal on Hockey Day in America, then the St Paul, Minnesota native and Rangers captain? After his original shot was stopped by Grubauer, McDonagh put the puck between Nicklas Backstrom’s legs, turned and fired the puck off the crossbar and in. He would record four shots on the afternoon, and continued his stellar offensive play this season. He is just 10 points shy of tying his personal best of 43, and the way he is playing, he should have no problem reaching that mark.
Dan Girardi/Kevin Klein – This may have been the first time all season that the Rangers got a complete and solid 60 minute effort from each of their defensemen. Much maligned guys like Dan Girardi and Kevin Klein turned in some of their best performances of the season, with Klein throwing two hits and making a few good stick checks to stop the Capitals on the rush; and Girardi who was his usual shot-blocking self with four. If the Rangers defense can turn in efforts like this every night, their chances of a deep playoff run can only improve.
“It’s two good teams out there. It’s almost like a playoff atmosphere game, division rivalry. It’s nice to get 2 pts.” – Mats Zuccarello
Henrik Lundqvist – The Rangers netminder picked up career win number 401, and moved into a tie for 11th all time in NHL history with Chris Osgood. Henrik gave up one goal on 32 shots for the Capitals, and solidified the win for the Blueshirts with these huge saves in crunch time. Henrik has pulled through his January struggles, and has bounced back into his usual form. He is back on top of his crease, fighting through screens, and being aggressive in the blue paint. He is 9-2-0 in his last 11 starts, and is showing why he is one of the NHL’s best once again.
“We were able to grind one out against a really good team.” – Marc Staal
“I think going into this game, we felt like this is a good test coming at the right time for us. You need an A performance. I thought we got that from everyone. We played really hard, smart, physical, good speed, energy.” – HL
NEXT GAME: The Rangers will look to keep rolling on Tuesday night when they take on the Atlantic division leading Montreal Canadiens. Puck drops at 7!
LETS GO RANGERS!!