Quick Hits – Rangers vs Panthers 3/7/17
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Here is my recap of the Rangers 5-2 win over the Florida Panthers
Chris Kreider – It has been a career year for the Rangers winger, and he added to his numbers with the icebreaker in this one. After Stepan kept the puck in at the blue line, the puck worked its way to Steven Kampfer. Kampfer fired it at the net and Kreider deflected it past James Reimer to give the Blueshirts the early lead. Kreider has been on the verge of a season like this since he came into the NHL, and it is nice to see him finally putting it all together.
Tanner Glass – Tanner Glass has come into the lineup and done everything this team has needed from him. He’s been physical, played with that edge he’s known to have, and was able to get on the score sheet for the first time in almost a year. Glass went to the net and put home the rebound on a shot by Oscar Lindberg. In the second period, Glass had the secondary assist on Holden’s bomb from the top of the circle; but he also got to the front of the net for a beautiful screen on the Florida goaltender. There has been a lot of chatter about whether or not Glass has a role on this team. One thing is for certain: he knows his role, plays it well and is the kind of guy that teams want on their side. Glass received second star of the game honors in this one, and played one of his best games in the red, white and blue.
Kevin Hayes – It has been a tough stretch for the Rangers center, who hadn’t scored in his previous 11 games, but he picked up the game winner against the Panthers. After the Rangers had failed to convert on three previous breakaways, Hayes took a pass from Brady Skjei and deked around Reimer for his 16th goal of the season. Hayes has not gotten the goals of late, but he has been a consistent player all season.
Pavel Buchnevich – The Russian rookie scored the empty netter in this one to seal the win, but it was a play that doesn’t show up in the box score that has him here. Midway through the third, Buchnevich slid in front of a blast by Michael Matheson and came up hobbling. When he got back to the bench, all of his teammates went over and gave him a pat on the back. That is something the coaches love to see, especially from the younger guys, because it shows they have bought in. Pavel has started to find the back of the net, and that will only boost his confidence down the stretch.
Team Defense – The Rangers blue line has been talked about a lot this season, but they have played well in these last two games. The defense had 11 of the team’s 15 blocked shots, and was able to get on the score sheet with a goal by Nick Holden and assists by Brady Skjei and Steven Kampfer. With the way the defense is currently playing, Alain Vigneault will have some decisions to make when Dan Girardi and Kevin Klein come back from their injuries.
Faceoffs – When Mika Zibanejad went down with his injury in November, he took his faceoff skills with him and the Rangers struggled. With him back in the lineup, the team has slowly gotten back to their faceoff winning ways. All Rangers centers were above 50% on the night, and the team won 61% of the draws in the game. It may not seem like a big deal to some, but it means more puck possession and more offensive chances.
Henrik Lundqvist – King Henrik has been playing much better the last few weeks, and he was shining in this one. Hank made 43 saves on 45 Panthers shots, including a few brilliant stops. Everyone knows the Rangers have a high-powered offense, but if they can get goaltending performances like this from their veteran backstop, this team has a chance of making a run in the playoffs.
NEXT GAME: The Blueshirts continue their four game road trip in Carolina on Thursday when they face the Hurricanes. Puck drops at 7!
LETS GO RANGERS!!