Quick Hits – Rangers vs Lightning 3/13/17
Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images
Here is my recap of the Rangers 3-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning
Michael Grabner – The Swiss born winger reclaimed the goal scoring lead for the Blueshirts, picking up his 27th of the season, which tied the game at 2. After the Lightning took a 2-1 lead early in the second period, Jason Garrison fanned on a breakout pass. Grabner picked up the puck, made a little backhand-forehand move, and squeaked the puck through Peter Budaj. It was the winger’s first goal since February 9, and one can only hope it gets his scoring touch back for the final push.
Steven Kampfer – It was a special night for the Rangers defenseman, as he picked up his first goal as a Blueshirt. After Chris Kreider helped on the faceoff, he passed it over to Mats Zuccarello, who found Kampfer for a one-timer from the point. The young defenseman, who is with his fourth NHL team since 2010-11 season, has played well in his Broadway debut. He is responsible in his own zone, not afraid to take a hit, and will shoot the puck whenever he gets a lane. He will come out of the lineup when the blue line gets healthy again, but having him as an asset is good for the Rangers down the stretch.
Stats Lie – If you would look at the box score, and not see that the final score was 3-2 in favor of the Lightning, you’d think that the Rangers had won this game. The Rangers had a SOG advantage of 28-16, won 62% of the game’s faceoffs, and forced Tampa Bay into 14 giveaways. But the problem for the Blueshirts wasn’t what shows up in the box score, but it is was doesn’t. The Rangers had multiple open net chances in the first period, and missed the net. In fact, they had 27 shots that were either blocked or missed the net. And while Peter Budaj did make some nice stops, especially on a breakaway for Chris Kreider early in the first, the Rangers failed to capitalize on their many chances. Come April, chances will be seen far less often than they are now, and the Blueshirts need to get into a habit of finishing those chances. Otherwise, they won’t be able to make any kind of a “deep” playoff run.
Antti Raanta – It was a strange game for the Rangers netminder, who only had to face 16 shots, but gave up three goals. The Lightning capitalized on the PP, with Point finishing off a nice pass from Nikita Kucherov. Point would also score the game winner, splitting Ryan McDonagh and Marc Staal, and tipping a shot by Ondrej Palat past the Finnish netminder. Raanta will be in net for the Rangers a lot down this final stretch, and he will need to keep playing at the level we’ve seen all season to help get the Rangers rolling into April.
“There’s no doubt that our second and our third were not good enough tonight to get a win. With the pace that we carried in the first period, we should’ve been able to do that in the second and the third.” – Alain Vigneault
NEXT GAME: The Rangers will look to bounce back on Friday, when they welcome the Florida Panthers to MSG. Puck drops at 7!
LETS GO RANGERS!!