Quick Hits – Rangers vs Maple Leafs 2/23/17
Kevin Sousa/NHLI via Getty Images
Here is my recap of the Rangers 2-1 shootout win over the Toronto Maple Leafs
JT Miller – After what was a relatively quiet night for the Rangers forward, he came up with the tying goal midway through the third. With the Rangers power play expiring, Brandon Pirri fired one wide that came right to Kevin Hayes. Hayes put it off of Andersen, and Miller was there to put home the rebound. While the PP didn’t score, they were able to generate shots and put some pressure on the Maple Leafs penalty kill. Miller picked up his 19th goal of the season and is having his best season in the red, white and blue.
Kreider-Zibanejad-Zuccarello – Although this line didn’t score until the shootout, they wreaked havoc every time they were on the ice. Zuccarello used his strength to outmuscle the bigger Leafs defensemen; Kreider was using his speed to force the Maple Leafs into bad decisions, and Zibanejad was firing the puck on net. This was the Rangers best trio all game, and they have really gelled since Zibanejad came back from his injury. If not for Andersen, this line could’ve had two or three goals before the end of the first period.
Brandon Pirri – It has been a little over three weeks since Brandon Pirri has been in the lineup, and he made sure to contribute. Coming into the lineup for the struggling Pavel Buchnevich, Pirri was expected to use his shot when he was on the ice. And while he recorded three shots on net, it was his shot that missed the net that made the difference. Whether you feel that Pirri should be in the lineup more regularly or not, the important thing is that he contributes when he is in the lineup. And in this one, he made sure to do just that.
Balanced Offense – The Rangers put 38 pucks to the net of Frederik Andersen, and each forward had at least a shot. Rick Nash led the team with six, Derek Stepan had four, and four forwards had three shots. Each defenseman also picked up at least one shot, with Skjei, Holden and Staal each picking up a pair. As I wrote after the game against the Capitals, the Rangers strength in depth has propelled them all season. With Kevin Klein out of the lineup after tweaking his back, Clendening stepped in and had himself a solid game; Pirri came in for Buchnevich and had an assist. The Rangers depth will push them the rest of the way.
Henrik Lundqvist – The King reigned over the Air Canada Centre in this one, making 32 saves and stopping the high-flying Maple Leafs offense. He made a few big stops on rookie phenom Auston Matthews, including this breakaway chance in the dying seconds of the extra frame. Henrik has been on fire of late, and has gotten back to the King we’ve all come to know and love.
“Goalies when they’re standing on their heads, you don’t get the tic-tac-toes to go in. I thought we did a good job of getting guys to the paint and getting numbers on the forecheck.” – JT Miller
NEXT GAME: The Rangers head off to New Jersey on Saturday for the Battle of the Hudson when they take on the Devils. Puck drops at 5!
LETS GO RANGERS!!