Quick Hits – Rangers vs Ducks 2/7/17
Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images
Here is my Quick Hits recap of the Rangers 4-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks
JT Miller – JT Miller has improved his game by leaps and bounds this season, especially when it comes to his playmaking. He assisted on both goals by linemate Michael Grabner, including a beautiful saucer pass for the Rangers third goal of the game. Since December 29th, the Rangers winger has 20 points, including 13 assists. He has been one of the Rangers top young talents the last few years, and he has really stepped it up this season.
Mats Zuccarello – Mats Zuccarello has continued his stellar play this season, picking up his 11th goal and 40th point of the season. He may be the hardest working player, pound for pound, in the NHL and it is no doubt that this has been the key to his consistency over his Rangers career. He had a couple of opportunities to shoot the puck late in the game, but as is his nature, decided to try and set up his teammates. His unselfish attitude is great, but it is the only criticism I have of his game. If he would look to shoot more, it would make his passing that much more dangerous. It sounds weird, but if he would shoot more than pass, the opposition will have to respect it and give Zucc more room to make a pass.
Michael Grabner – If you’d have told me before the season that Michael Grabner would be tied for third in the NHL in goals on February 7th, I might have asked you to go seek professional help. Grabner has been the steal of the offseason, and Rangers GM Jeff Gorton deserves major kudos for the signing. The amazing thing is that 24 of the winger’s 25 goals on the year have been scored at even strength, even though he was originally brought in to be a penalty killer. He has found great chemistry with Miller and Kevin Hayes, and the line creates multiple chances every night.
Oscar Lindberg – The Rangers fourth line has done a great job recently, picking up points and playing solid defensively. And it was the fourth line that got the Rangers on the board first in this one. After a keep in at the point by Marc Staal, the puck came to Rangers rookie Pavel Buchnevich. Buchnevich, who was behind the net, made a beautiful no look pass to Lindberg in front, who put it past John Gibson.
Team Defense – Aside from the turnover by Brady Skjei that led to the Anaheim goal, the Rangers defense played one of their better games of the season. The team blocked 23 shots, including 11 by the trio of McDonagh/Girardi/Staal and four by forward JT Miller. It was the kind of game the Rangers defense needed, playing simply and making sure to do their jobs before looking to get out of the zone.
Penalty Killing – While the Rangers solo power play chance was uneventful, the penalty killing did their job. The Rangers killed off four penalties, including a four minute double-minor to Brady Skjei. The PK is currently 11th in the league, and has been a part of the Rangers success this season. After finishing near the bottom of the NHL last season, to be right around the top at this point of the season is a sign of how hard this team has worked to improve.
Henrik Lundqvist – Henrik has slowly but surely started to get his game and confidence back. He was on top of the crease, battled for his ice and was aggressive. The King stopped 43 of the Ducks 44 shots on the night, and is looking like the King Henrik we’ve all come to expect. If he continues the way he has been playing, the Rangers will be fine entering the postseason.
NEXT GAME: The Rangers will look to keep going on Thursday when the Nashville Predators come to MSG. Puck drops at 7!
LETS GO RANGERS!