Quick Hits – Rangers vs Islanders 10/19/17

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Here is our Quick Hits recap of the Rangers 4-3 shootout loss to the Islanders.

David Desharnais – The Rangers got on the board once again courtesy of the first-year Blueshirt. After winning the faceoff, Desharnais headed to the net and deflected Kevin Shattenkirk’s point shot past Jaroslav Halak. The goal was Desharnais’ second in the last two games and his fourth point of the season. That was the good from the French-Canadian centerman. The bad is him not converting in the shootout in a win or go home third round. Let’s not overreact and say that the Rangers would have won had Desharnais scored in the third round, but he probably shouldn’t have been out there in the first place. But I’ll talk about that more later.

Vesey-Hayes-Fast – When AV juggled his lines, he was looking for a new combination to stick, and this new line has done just that. The shifty Jimmy Vesey, the patient puck handler Kevin Hayes, and one of the hardest working men in the NHL Jesper Fast have combined to become a noticeable force when they’re on the ice. Vesey threw five hits to go along with his two shots, Fast had five hits and an assist on the goal by Hayes, who himself had two hits, two takeaways and two blocked shots.

The Hayes goal was the one that sent the game to overtime. After taking the pass from Fast while still in the defensive zone, Hayes went goal line to goal line and found an open spot to get the puck through Jarsolav Halak. When it comes to Hayes, and by extension the Rangers team as a whole, are very selfless with the puck. Normally selflessness is nice, but not so much in hockey. You have to shoot the puck to score goals, and the Rangers passed up numerous shooting chances in this one that were broken up. I said it before the game and I’ll say it again here; the Rangers need to start getting in on the forecheck and getting the dirty goals, the greasy goals, the tough area goals. And while Hayes went end-to-end, he scored because he shot the puck from a bad angle and caught the goalie napping. The expression around hockey has always been “get pucks to the net and good things will happen,” and Hayes proved that with his goal.

Mats Zuccarello – The diminutive Norwegian made his mark on the game picking up the Rangers’ second goal of the game. After Brendan Smith came in all alone on Halak from the blue line, Zuccarello followed up the play and potted the juicy rebound left by Halak. It was Zuccarello’s second of the season and his seventh point of the season, which ties him with Kevin Shattenkirk and JT Miller for the team lead. Zuccarello putting up points is no surprise, but hopefully he can produce more than usual as the season progresses.

Rick Nash – It seems like Rick Nash is going to be known as the NHL’s best player at coming close to scoring. Nash had five shots on net, including two breakaways that were stopped by Halak. Nash is in the final year of his $7.8 million contract, and if he wants to show the team, and the league, why he’s worth all of that money, he’s going to have to put the puck in the net more often.

Chris Kreider – I think everything has already been said about Kreider but it warrants repeating. Chris Kreider is one of the best young players in the game, when he wants to be. Kreider has the speed and skill of the classic power forward, a la a younger Rick Nash. But Kreider seems to take off a couple of shifts a night, and essentially makes himself useless in doing so.

Aside from this general critique of his play, Kreider took an unnecessary and unacceptable penalty early in the first period that led to the Islanders opening score. Kreider was coming in on the forecheck and instead of continuing to move his feet, he decided to reach with his stick and ended up hooking the Isles player. Again, Kreider needs to play his game for a full 60 minutes for him to take that next step that everyone has been waiting for. If he doesn’t, I wouldn’t be so opposed to Jeff Gorton putting Kreider on the trading block.

“We’re going to go to work tomorrow and really try to focus on the next game here. A lot of good things. Try and feel good about the situation even though it’s a tough week so far here.” – Henrik Lundqvist

Henrik Lundqvist – The Rangers goaltender is coming off his worst season for the Blueshirts and has not gotten off to a great start this season. His teammates don’t always put him in a good position to succeed, and he has been called to action a lot in games, especially early on. But when I look at this game, the goal that rubs me the wrong way is the Islanders’ third goal from rookie Matt Barzal. Barzal came down the wing and snuck one through Lundqvist from just above the goal line. It’s one that Lundqvist will probably want back, but as he has always done, he shook it off and backstopped the Rangers the rest of the way to help the team get a point. Henrik is going to come under scrutiny as the season progresses. But if he can keep his game trending upward, it’ll help the team just as much as it’ll help Lundqvist himself.

Alain Vigneault – I will give AV credit for one thing in this one; he saw that the Hayes line was really going and got them on the ice as much as he could in the third period. But aside from that he didn’t have a good performance in this one. The team came out flat once again, giving up the PPG within the first three minutes of the game. Then, with the game on the line, he sent out first period goal-scorer David Desharnais to try and keep the Rangers hopes alive. And here lies the problem.


Desharnais is not known as a real offensive threat, and with players like Nash, Buchnevich, Vesey, Hayes, Miller, even Shattenkirk on the bench, Vigneault still went with Desharnais. Ignoring the fact that Buchnevich played less than ten minutes, and you have a head coach that seems to be running the team with no direction. If the Rangers don’t get things turned around soon, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Alain Vigneault looking for new employment.

NEXT GAME: The Rangers will look to get their season back on track in a Saturday afternoon matinee against the Predators. Puck drops at 1230!


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