Quick Hits – Rangers vs Hurricanes 11/22/17

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Here is our Quick Hits recap of the Rangers 6-1 win over the Hurricanes.

KZB Line – Perhaps the Rangers most consistent line all season, the trio of Chris Kreider, Mika Zibanejad, and Pavel Buchnevich combined for three goals and an assist to lead the Blueshirts in this one. Chris Kreider got the party started just 52 seconds into the first period. Kreider finished off a beautiful passing play that saw the puck go from JT Miller to Brendan Smith to Kreider, who snapped it into the back of a half-open net.

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Just 90 seconds later, after a brutal turnover by Kevin Shattenkirk that saw the ensuing shot saved by Henrik Lundqvist, Zibanejad scored one of the rarer goals you’ll ever see. After the aforementioned save, Brady Skjei passed the puck up to Zibanejad who was looking for a change. The dump-in, which was intentionally on net, handcuffed Hurricanes goalie Scott Darling and found it’s way into the net. A goal that Mika will be thankful for on Thanksgiving.

For an encore, Kreider finished off a great zone entry on the PP early in the third period; this time just 20 seconds into the final frame. Zuccarello took the pass from Zibanejad as he was skating across the neutral zone, raced in and fed a backhand bullet to Kreider, who was able to put it past Darling on the far post.

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Even after all this, the line still generated a few chances late in the game. Yet, Pavel Buchnevich was too busy trying to get Kreider his hat-trick to shoot the puck himself. This line has been producing all season, and they made sure to continue that production in this one.

Jesper Fast – One of the hardest-working players in the NHL, Jesper Fast’s name won’t usually appear on the scoresheet. But in this one, Fast found the back of the net twice. For his first goal, Fast took the beautiful saucer pass from Kevin Hayes and shot it by Darling. His second goal came after a pinch from Steven Kampfer, who found Fast across the ice for a one-time blast into the back of the net. Whenever Jesper Fast scores, I get a warm feeling inside. His play in the corners and his no-quit attitude is something that largely goes unnoticed, but there was no denying his impact on this game.

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Fourth Line – The Rangers fourth line of Jimmy Vesey, Boo Nieves and Paul Carey was noticeable as well against the Hurricanes. Carey notched his first goal with the Blueshirts after cleaning up a rebound in front of the net. Vesey had a takeaway and five shots on goal, which doesn’t include the post he hit. Vesey is doing all of the right things and eventually, the pucks will start tickling the twine.

Team Defense – With team captain Ryan McDonagh out with an abdominal strain, the Rangers needed the rest of their defensive group to step up. And step up they did. Brendan Smith seems to have shaken off the rust, picking up an assist and was a +4 on the night. Kampfer had a solid outing as well, also notching an assist and had three hits. Nick Holden was a +4, and Marc Staal had three blocked shots. This was one of the best defensive games the Rangers have had all season, and if Ryan McDonagh comes back healthy, this defense could finally turn into the one we were all expecting at season’s start.

Special Teams – As I mentioned in my pregame periscope, special teams were going to be important in this game. And while it was a blowout in the end, this game could have easily been a lot closer had it not been for the Rangers penalty kill. Even though they did surrender one to the Hurricanes, the Rangers shorthanded units stood tall against the next four Carolina man-advantage situations.

Henrik Lundqvist – They say your best penalty killer has to be your goaltender. Well, King Henrik proved that statement true. Lundqvist made 32 saves on 33 shots, including 11 saves while the Blueshirts were down a man. And no save was more impressive than this one on Jordan Staal. Henrik seems to be back in his groove now, and that can only mean trouble for the rest of the NHL.

Next Game: The Blueshirts will look to win their third straight game on Friday night when they host the Red Wings. Puck drops at 7!

LETS GO RANGERS!!