Quick Hits – Rangers vs Flyers 4/2/17

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Here is my recap of the Rangers 4-3 win over the Flyers

  • Zuccarello-Stepan-Kreider – The Rangers might not have a bona fide superstar on their team, but they have a lot of high-level players that contribute game in and game out. And this game was no different. The Stepan line combined for six points (G, 5A) on the night, with the Norwegian winger picking up three assists. Chris Kreider picked up the GWG, although it didn’t seem like it at the time when he deflected Stepan’s shot past Stolarz. This has been the only line that has stayed together the last few months, and they will be counted on to perform when the playoffs begin.
  • Fourth Line – The line of Fast-Lindberg-Glass looked really good in this one. I know it’s not a popular opinion, but this is the kind of fourth line the team needs. The Rangers have three very capable scoring lines and need the grinding type line to round out the forward group. Even if it means Buchnevich sees less ice time; he has struggled as of late, and the way the team is constructed, he may end up the odd man out. I want to see him develop as a player, but if there are other players making more positive contributions, then that will be a price he has to pay.

    As for this one, Oscar Lindberg scored the Rangers third goal on the night, when he cleaned up a loose puck in front. It was his eighth goal of the year, and his third in the last three weeks. He isn’t going to be a 20 goal scorer, but if he can chip in with 10-15 a year, he becomes a solid depth player going forward.

  • Brendan Smith – Since being acquired from the Red Wings at the deadline, Smith has done a solid job on the Rangers blue line. He hasn’t contributed much offensively, but he scored his first as a Blueshirt in this one, and boy was it a good one. After the Rangers forced a turnover at center, Mats Zuccarello threaded a pass to Smith on the opposite side. Smith then went forehand-backhand and finished under the bar. Smith won’t put up a lot of points from the back end, but he will be able to get on the scoresheet every now and then.
  • “Zucc made the pass, and then I just blacked out” – Brendan Smith on his goal

  • Special Teams – This was the first time in a while that the Rangers special teams clicked on both ends of the ice. The PK went a perfect 3-3, and the PP went 1-4. The power play will need to be better in the playoffs, but they are getting hot at the right time. The PP tally in this one came just ten seconds after the man advantage had begun. The Rangers forced the puck up the boards where it was picked up by Zuccarello. Zucc then sauced it across to Zibanejad, who wired one off the shoulder of Stolarz and in. Hopefully, this goal gets Zibanejad going again in time for the playoffs.
  • Henrik Lundqvist – For a team that had not won a game at home in around six weeks, this one was a must win. The Rangers need to be able to win at home if they have any chance of making it past the first round of the playoffs. And in order to do that, you need to have good goaltending. Henrik Lundqvist made 20 saves in this one, but came up huge when it mattered most. After the Flyers scored two goals to cut the Rangers lead to 4-3, Brendan Smith took a penalty with 44.6 seconds to go. The Flyers pressed for the tying goal, and Claude Giroux’s shot was snared by the glove of Lundqvist with 15 seconds remaining. Henrik has been shaky at different points of the season, but he will have to step it up to get the Rangers deep in the playoffs.
  • NEXT GAME: The Rangers head to the nation’s capital to face Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals on Wednesday night. Puck drops at 8!


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