Quick Hits – Rangers vs Coyotes 10/26/17

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Here is our Quick Hits recap of the Rangers 5-2 win over the Coyotes.

Fourth Line – The Rangers were in desperate need of a few things heading into this game. They needed a fourth line center. They needed to get their offense going. They needed to get their line combinations set. And the fourth line answered all of those questions with the way that they dominated this game. The line, which was made up of Boo Nieves centering Michael Grabner and Pavel Buchnevich, combined for seven points on the night. Michael Grabner scored the Rangers’ third and fifth goals, while Buchnevich had the team’s second and fourth goals.

“There’s no doubt that line played a real strong game for us. At both ends of the rink. They were dependable defensively. They had a lot of speed and that speed led to good opportunities.” – Alain Vigneault

Buchnevich got his first on the night after taking a stretch pass from Ryan McDonagh. The young Russian corralled the puck and fired a wrister under the glove of Coyotes goaltender Adin Hill.


For an encore, Boo Nieves picked up an errant pass from the first-year Coyotes goaltender and fired a pass the deflected wide off the stick of Buchnevich. But the 22-year-old stayed with the play, took the rebound off the boards, and put the puck into the yawning cage.

As for Grabner’s first goal, it came off of a great effort by Nieves. The Hartford call-up forced a turnover in the neutral zone and carried the puck down the half-wall. Nieves then shielded the puck from two Arizona defenders and made a one-handed pass to Grabner in front. The Austrian winger made a quick move to his forehand and slid the puck past Hill. Grabner then sealed the win with an empty net goal, after stealing the puck at the blue line and beating everybody down the ice for the easiest goal he’s ever going to score.

With the way this line played, as well as the way the Hayes line played, the Rangers have solidified their bottom-six. The Rangers top six of Zibanejad between Miller and Nash, as well as Desharnais centering Kreider and Zuccarello, have got to start matching the play of their third and fourth line counterparts.

Chris Kreider – Speaking of Kreider, he got the Rangers on the board about midway through the first period. After forcing a turnover in front of the penalty boxes, the puck came out to Zibanejad who left it for a streaking Zuccarello. Zucc came in with Kreider and dropped a deft pass to the Rangers power forward for an easy goal. It was Kreider’s second tally of the season and hopefully gets him going in the right direction.

But that wasn’t the only thing that got Kreider noticed in this one. After David Desharnais took a late hit from Nick Cousins, Kreider immediately jumped in and stood up for his teammate, dropping the gloves with Jason Demers, who stuck up for Cousins. Earlier in the game, Cousins took a run at Nieves and Kevin Shattenkirk jumped to his defense. With the team struggling like they have to start the season, moments like these are ones that can bring the team closer together.

Nick Holden – After an up and down 2016-17 season, Nick Holden’s status on the Rangers blue line was very much in question. But now that Tony DeAngelo has been sent down to Hartford, Holden is solidified as a regular player at Alain Vigneault’s disposal. Holden was solid all game, including breaking up a 2v1 from his stomach. Nick will be getting a chance now to prove that his ups from last year weren’t an aberration and that he belongs on this Rangers team.

Milestones – This was a special night for a few members of the Blueshirts.

Boo Nieves got his first three NHL points, picking up assists on three of the Rangers five goals.

Marc Staal skated in his 700th career NHL game, all played in the Rangers sweater.

Rick Nash played his 1000th NHL game in this one, split between the Rangers and the Columbus Blue Jackets. Through his 1000 games, Nash has compiled 772 points (417G, 355A) and has won both gold and silver medals for Hockey Canada at the Olympics, IIHF World Junior Championships, and the IIHF Men’s World Championships.

Ondrej Pavelec – Having not played in a bit, you might expect the Rangers backup goaltender to be a bit rusty. But as is the case with all of Benoit Allaire’s students, there is no such thing as being unprepared, and it showed against the Coyotes. Pavelec made a couple of nice saves, including one with the glove in the third period that preserved the Rangers 4-2 lead. If the Rangers are going to be able to get back into playoff contention, they are going to need both of their goalies to play well the rest of the way.

Derek Stepan – It’s not often that you’ll see us write about players from the game’s opponent, but this one is special. For seven years, Derek Stepan was one of the leaders for the Rangers, helping his team get to a Stanley Cup, a President’s trophy, and three Eastern Conference finals appearances.

NEXT GAME – The Rangers will look to continue moving in the right direction on Saturday when they take on the Canadiens at The Bell Centre. Puck drops at 7!


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