Quick Hits – Rangers vs Hurricanes 11/29
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Here is my Quick Hits recap of the Rangers 3-2 comeback win over the Hurricanes
Rick Nash – This was a vintage kind of a game for Rick Nash. He played like a man possessed, and it manifested itself on the scoreboard. On the goal by Nick Holden, Nash made the rush and the pass to Holden for the initial shot. He scored this ridiculous backhander after a great individual effort starting in the defensive zone. Nash blocked the shot, rushed up the ice and went bardown on the breakaway to tie the game. And he capped off his amazing night by getting the puck to the net on the power play, and creating the rebound chance for Vesey’s game winner. This 2 point effort from Nash was the kind of game that should be the standard for Nash the rest of the season.
Jimmy Vesey – After a quiet couple of weeks for the Rangers rookie, Vesey had a big impact in this one. He had 3 shots on net, a hit, and of course, the GWG. Maybe this will get him back to the form we saw earlier in the season.
Jesper Fast – There is not a lot of love shown for the “glue” guys, the guys who don’t score tons of goals, but will be the ones grinding it out for their teammates. Jesper Fast is one of those guys. With the Rangers leading 3-2 late in the third, Fast and Matt Puempel kept the puck in the Carolina corners for around 30-40 seconds. It is plays like these that go unnoticed in the box score, but go a long way with his teammates.
Marc Staal – Say what you will about Staal, but he has been much better so far this season. And he arguably kept the Rangers in this game. With around 3 minutes left in the 2nd and the Rangers down by a goal, Carolina had a 3-on-2 rush. After a Sebastian Aho shot was deflected on net, the puck was trickling towards the net when Staal slid into the crease and kept the puck out. He was around the puck, making 2 hits and 4 blocks. He’s looked much better in the first quarter of the season, and this performance should keep him going.
Nick Holden – Holden had a so-so kind of game, but he did have positives. After deflecting the Viktor Stalberg shot into the ice and passed Henrik on the opening goal of the game, Holden made up for it by scoring the Rangers first goal. Holden took a pass from Rick Nash and after fanning on the initial shot, stuck with it and deposited the puck into an empty net with Cam Ward sprawled out on the ice. If Holden continues his solid play, he will be in the conversation for most pleasant surprise of the season.
Henrik Lundqvist – After stealing the game for the Rangers in Philadelphia on Friday, Henrik continued his solid play with 26 saves, including a few good save sequences to keep Carolina at bay. When the Rangers fell behind in the first, Henrik kept his team in the game; and when the Blueshirts took the lead late in the third, he made sure his team would get the two points. We are now at a point in the season where you can’t say “slow starter.” Henrik will need to be on his game for the rest of the year, and this was a great start.
Special Teams – In a battle of two of the top special teams squads in the NHL, it was the Rangers that came out on top. The Rangers kept the Hurricanes 12th ranked PP off the board with their 5th ranked PK; and the Rangers 9th ranked PP cashed in against the Hurricanes and their top ranked PK. After Ron Hainsey was called for taking down Ryan McDonagh, he lost his temper and drew an additional 2 minute penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct. This was the chance the Rangers needed, and they took full advantage of it.
Faceoffs – After starting the season near the top of the league in faceoff percentage, the Rangers have dipped down to 19th in the NHL. Now granted the injury of Mika Zibanejad has an effect, but the team started out so well, that it becomes more noticeable when it goes south. Hopefully the team will continue to work and improve in the circle.
Will and Desire – This game seemed to be a tale of two different Rangers teams. The first period and beginning of the second seemed to be the Rangers that didn’t show up on Sunday night. They looked tired, slow and like they expected to win. And then something clicked, and the Rangers started to impose their will on a weaker Carolina team. That is the way this team needs to play. When you go up against a weaker team, you need to make sure the other team knows that you are better than they are.
Next Game: The Rangers will take on Jack Eichel and the Sabres in Buffalo on Thursday night. Puck drops at 7!
LETS GO RANGERS!