Quick Hits – Rangers vs Devils 12/11/16
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Here is my Quick Hits recap of the Rangers 5-0 win over the Devils
Chris Kreider – Kreider has been one of the most consistent players on this team all season, and this game was no exception. He tortured the Devils all night, scoring the first goal of the game, and had an assist on Brandon Pirri’s goal. He’s got 6 points in the last 5 games, including this one, and has really been the backbone to the Rangers offensive successes so far this year. We are a third of the way through the season, and if Kreider can keep up his play, he will be a driving force for the Blueshirts offense the rest of the year.
Mats Zuccarello – Like Kreider, Zucc has been consistent all season long. Just by playing his regular game, fighting for pucks, and making crisp passes, he affects the game so much. And this game was no different. Zucc and Kreider worked their magic in the corner, won the puck battle and Zucc made a beautiful pass to Kreider for the goal. Zuccarello has been the “unsung hero” for the Rangers in the last few years, and this season has been no exception.
Jimmy Vesey – It’s been sort of an up and down season for Jimmy Vesey this year. He started out on a tear, and then hit a bit of a cold spell. He looks to be getting back his earlier form, and the goal tonight will certainly help.
Brandon Pirri – For the first time in what seems like forever, Brandon Pirri scored a goal. And of course, it was on the power play. Pirri snuck in from his spot on the half wall and skated right in to put home the rebound off Ryan McDonagh’s point shot. Pirri also had the primary assist on Vesey’s goal as his shot snuck through Devils goalie Corey Schneider, and was sitting on a platter for Vesey. Hopefully a game like this gets Pirri going back in the right direction.
Jesper Fast/Marek Hrivik/Oscar Lindberg Line – I know that this line is only together because of the Rangers current injury problems, but this line did yeoman’s work all night. They were relentless around the puck, grinding it out in the corners, and making good, smart defensive plays when needed. I know it isn’t going to happen, but I kind of wish this line stays together when the team is fully healthy.
Brady Skjei – It was a special night for the rookie defenseman as he scored his first NHL goal late in the second period. Oscar Lindberg won the faceoff in the offensive zone, and Skjei wired a one timer past Corey Schneider. After numerous chances so far this season, the monkey is finally off of Brady’s back, and maybe he will start piling up the goals.
Antti Raanta – It was another solid performance by the Rangers backup netminder, as he stopped all 19 shots he faced in this one. Raanta is still the team’s backup, but with his performance this year, he is making it hard for the coaches to take him out of the lineup. If I had to guess, AV sits Henrik on Tuesday night and gets him back between the pipes on Thursday, when the Blueshirts head to Dallas.
Special Teams – The biggest difference maker in this one was the special teams. The Rangers powerplay scored twice, while the penalty kill was a perfect 5/5, including 3 kills in the second period. The Rangers special teams are now top 5 in the NHL in both categories (5th best PP and 4th best PK), and that is something that will help them win the low scoring games as the season wears on.
NEXT GAME: The Rangers look to keep on rolling when they face the Blackhawks on Tuesday night at MSG. Puck drops at 7!
LETS GO RANGERS!