Quick Hits – Rangers vs Golden Knights 10/31/17

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Here is our Quick Hits recap of the Rangers 6-4 win over the Vegas Golden Knights.

KZB – The trio of Mika Zibanejad, Pavel Buchnevich, and Chris Kreider was dynamic all game-long, and got the Rangers the two points. Buchnevich netted himself two points, Zibanejad picked up three points, while Kreider added a goal of his own. This was a line that AV had together to start the season. But when the Rangers started to struggle, the line was broken up in hopes of getting the rest of the group going.

In this one, Chris Kreider got the Rangers within one with the Rangers first PP goal of the game. The Rangers breakout with speed and Zibanejad laid a beautiful saucer pass over to Kreider to deposit into the open net. On the tying goal, Buchnevich and Kreider forced the Golden Knights’ into an errant pass that ended up on the tape of Zibanejad. Zibanejad found the young Russian who will never score an easier goal in his career. And finally, on the game winner, Zibanejad lasered a wrist shot over the shoulder of Lagace with the Rangers on the man-advantage.

All ???? #NYR  3rd period goals to complete the comeback @TheGarden!

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Mats Zuccarello – The newest alternate captain has struggled this season. He does have ten points on the season, but it hasn’t been a smooth road to get to those points. In this one, Zuccarello found the loose puck in front of the Vegas net and put it past the Vegas goaltender. The goal is Zuccarello’s third of the season, and he will have to continue to put up points for the Rangers to turn this season around.

“It’s anger, it’s frustration, it’s everything. It’s almost like you don’t know what to do but cry. That’s sports. You go through good times and bad times and it’s important that you stick together in the bad times and stay positive.” – Mats Zuccarello

Jimmy Vesey – When it comes to puck luck, Jimmy Vesey has not had good puck luck. Vesey has had numerous good scoring chances this season but hasn’t been able to cash in on a good chunk of them. But in this one, he got the Rangers on the board with the first shot of the game. After some great work from David Desharnais behind the net, the center found Vesey in front to slam home the opening goal. The goal was Vesey’s second of the season and hopefully, it will get him going in the goal-scoring department.

David Desharnais – Speaking of David Desharnais, he has been solid in his first few weeks with the Blueshirts. He is at 62.7% on faceoffs, including 63.5% on the PP and 65.5% in his own zone. He has been consistent in his effort and has surprised this writer with the way he has played in his advanced role this season. Desharnais could be this season’s Michael Grabner, being the surprise player that racks up the points. This would be a dream come true for the Rangers, and the way he’s been playing, it may not be so far-fetched.

“We were tired of losing all the time and just want to win.” – Pavel Buchnevich

Blue Line Blues – Everyone knew coming into the season that the Rangers’ biggest concern was their blue line. Prized free agent Kevin Shattenkirk was added into the mix of Ryan McDonagh, Brady Skjei, Marc Staal, Brendan Smith and Nick Holden. And while most thought that the Rangers defense had improved in this setup, it has been very disappointing. In this game, the Rangers defense was turned inside out numerous times by the Golden Knights’ forwards, including on the first Vegas goal when Alex Tuch went around Steven Kampfer and the rebound was put in by former Rangers center Oscar Lindberg.

As for the rest of the defense, the aforementioned Shattenkirk leads the Rangers defense in giveaways (28) and has shown why he was a second pair defenseman in St. Louis. McDonagh looks like a different player this season, and not in a good way. He’s made many mistakes this year that we hadn’t seen in the last few years. Skjei has been ok this year, getting off to a bit of a slow start, but is starting to get going. Brendan Smith has not had a good start to his season either. The Rangers defenseman who earned himself a contract extension over the summer, but is not living up to the money he is being paid. Smith has already been scratched a couple of times this year and was glued to the bench last night in the third where he played just two shifts for a total of 34 seconds.


For Kampfer, who has been the team’s seventh defenseman this season, it was not a good night. But more than that, he is not better than Tony DeAngelo, who is currently playing down in Hartford. The Rangers acquired DeAngelo in the trade for Derek Stepan, and his not being with the Blueshirts certainly isn’t something that Rangers fans wanted to see. Many will argue that this was a trade with an eye for the future, but if DeAngelo is going to be relegated to the minors this season, the Rangers will need to find someone else to be their extra blue-liner.

Henrik Lundqvist – The Rangers need to take King Henrik out for a nice steak dinner after the way he played in this one. Lundqvist made numerous ten-bell saves that kept the Rangers in this game and ultimately allowed them to complete the comeback. His rebound control has been a point of concern for some amongst The Garden faithful, but when your defense leaves you out to dry, there is only so much that one goalie can do. Henrik has kept the Rangers in a lot of games this season, but his teammates will need to start keeping the puck away from him if they want to win games.

“It was emotional for me. Before the game I talked to the group a little bit about the importance of this game. For me, my family is in that area every day. Coming to the game, not knowing if they were safe or not. It was not a good feeling.” – Henrik Lundqvist

An Emotional Win – Following the terrorist attack earlier in the afternoon, the Rangers had to get ready to play a hockey game. And while the game isn’t important in the grand scheme of things, the Rangers players really wanted to win this one for all of New York City. It was a game that the team came back to win, and was the kind of win that can galvanize the team to get going in the right direction. Whether or not that happens remains to be seen, but this was a win that this team desperately needed, in more ways than just one.

NEXT GAME: The Rangers will look to build on this win on Thursday when they face the Tampa Bay Lightning. Puck drops at 7:30!


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