Quick Hits- Rangers vs Jets 11/6
Here is my Quick Hits recap of last night’s Rangers 5-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets
- Hayes/Miller/Grabner – This line is and has been the catalyst for this team. Another 2 goals for the line tonight, including JT Miller’s wicked wrister for the GWG, and this line looks like the GAG line 2.0. Grabner had an unusually quiet game on the offensive side, but had two hits and a takeaway to help the team. The way these guys are playing, this whole line could go to the all-star game in January.
- Mats Zuccarello – Zucc continued his brilliance tonight with another goal, set up beautifully by Chris Kreider on the odd-man rush. He is sort of like a quiet assassin. He sneaks around the ice, always looking to make a play, and when he has the puck on his stick, he strikes. His consistency will be key for the Rangers as the year progresses.
- Henrik Lundqvist – Another solid outing for King Henrik. The first goal, scored by Patrik Laine on a redirection with poor d-zone coverage; and the second was on a scramble in front and Scheifele put it in. Henrik had a couple of really good saves, and stood tall in the third when the Jets made their push to get back into the game. He made a couple key saves, including a chance for Winnipeg late in the 2nd, which kept the game at 5-2. With all of this goal support that Henrik, and for that matter Antti Raanta, have been getting, the saves that they have to make stand out even more, showing how on top of their game each goalie is.
- Fourth Line – The depth of the Rangers shined once again. Jesper Fast and Pavel Buchnevich each scored a goal tonight to seal the Rangers 5-2 victory. The way this line has played so far this season, it shows that the Rangers have the best four lines in the NHL. Every player knows his role, and goes out and executes it to the fullest.
- Brady Skjei – It was another productive game for the rookie defenseman, who picked up the secondary assist on the opening goal by Kevin Hayes. Skjei also had two assists and two blocks, and played good, smart defense. He extended his point scoring streak to 5, and has 6 assists in that span. The sky seems to be the limit for the rookie.
- Nick Holden – Holden had another solid defensive game tonight, with a hit and a blocked shot. He was very noticeable in the defensive zone. Holden also picked up his 6th assist of the season on the goal by JT Miller. He seems to be set in the lineup, which is good news for the Rangers, because the lineup won’t be constantly shuufled trying to find the right match.
- Adam Clendening – The one downside to Nick Holden being in the lineup, is that Adam Clendening is the 7th defenseman. Clendening, taking Dan Girardi’s spot in the lineup tonight as a precautionary measure, had two blocked shots and the secondary assist on the goal from Buchnevich. In case of injury, he needs to be ready to go, and a performance like this certainly doesn’t hurt his case in any way.
- Team Defense – The biggest question mark coming into this season was the defense. Not just the 6 defensemen, but the defense as a whole. The Rangers brought in Jeff Beukeboom as a new assistant coach, and he has really transformed the way this team has been playing defense. The team had 21 blocked shots tonight, and was constantly looking to put pressure on the puck carrier. The defense looks to be heading in the right direction, and it shows.
- Special Teams – The Rangers took the only two penalties in the game, but were able to kill both of them off successfully. Winnipeg was kept to the outside, and Henrik made the saves when called upon. After the PK was 26th in the league last year, the PK looks like it did a few years ago. The Rangers are now tied for 10th in the NHL at 83.3%. If the Blueshirts can keep this up, it will be that much harder for teams to score against them.
- Faceoffs – Another key area the Rangers focused on was faceoffs. On numerous occasions last year, the Rangers would lose a faceoff cleanly and it would end up in the back of the net, or would lose the faceoff at the start of a powerplay and lose the time chasing the puck. The Rangers won 53% of the draws tonight, and currently sit in the top 10 in the league at 51%. If you don’t have the puck, you can’t make plays. And as simple as it sounds, puck possession has been key to the team’s success so far.
- Overall Play – This team has looked dominant so far this season. The Rangers got off to a similar start last year, but it was due to the brilliance of Henrik Lundqvist. This year, however, the goals have been pouring in, and there’s been much less stress on the goaltenders. The forwards are supporting the d if they pinch, everyone is backchecking hard and looking to make defensive zone plays. This team has oooked really good so far, but remember, there is still a long hockey season ahead of us!
Next game: The Rangers take on the Canucks on Tuesday night, before heading out west. Puck drops at 7!
LETS GO RANGERS!