Quick Hits Recap – Rangers vs Lightning 10/30
Here is my Quick Hits recap of the Rangers 6-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning
A Full 60 Minutes – The Rangers played a near perfect game tonight right from the drop of the puck. After a couple of chances for the Lightning early, the Rangers settled in and started to attack a team that was in the second of a back-to-back. The Rangers outshot Tampa Bay 37-32, and really never looked back from gaining some momentum about midway through the first period. The Rangers outskated the Lightning, won races to the pucks in the corners, and really turned it on against a good team. Hopefully a game like this could be a sign of things to come.
- Controlled Aggressive Play – One of the keys in AV’s offensive system is the defensemen stepping up to keep the puck in the zone. The Rangers have been doing an excellent job of it all season, but tonight it showed. On multiple occasions, Klein, Skjei, McDonagh and even Holden were down the half wall keeping the puck in the offensive zone, forcing Tampa to defend.
- Grabner-Hayes-Miller – This line was dynamic tonight, and each player on the line had their best game of the season. Michael Grabner picked up his 3rd career hat trick, Kevin Hayes had 3 assists in what may be his best game as a member of the Blueshirts, and JT Miller scored his first of the season, and had two assists. This line played with speed and aggression that will be something the Rangers will need to keep up throughout the course of the season.
- Nash & Vesey – The chemistry that has developed between Rangers alternate captain Rick Nash, and rookie sensation Jimmy Vesey has been visible so far this year. Nash made the drop pass to Vesey which led to his (Vesey’s) fifth goal of the season, and the line as a whole with Stepan between the two wingers has played well to start the season. If they can keep up their level of play for an extended period of time.
Holden & Girardi – With all of the talk coming into the season about the Rangers defensive issues, tonight was a good night all around, but particularly for Nick Holden and Dan Girardi. Holden played solid defensively, making three hits and a takeaway, and also got into the offense with a couple of shots on Bishop.
As for Dan Girardi, he had the secondary assist on JT Miller’s goal, as well as a hit and a blocked shot. This was the kind of game Girardi needs to get himself back to the way he played a couple of years ago.
- D Playing a Solid Game in Front of Goalie – As I’ve brought up, this was a complete team effort. And that goes from the net out, which I’ll get to in a minute. But the Rangers defense kept one of the better teams in the eastern conference off the board until the game was pretty much put away. A real strong game from all six defensemen that will certainly make AV and Rangers assistant coach Jeff Beukeboom very happy.
- Raanta Making Saves When Needed -Antti Raanta came up big early when the Lightning controlled the puck early in the first, and answered the call throughout the game. The goal from Stamkos, although soft, was on a Rangers PK late in the third period and the game was all but over. With the condensed schedule this year due to the World Cup, Raanta should be getting more work than he did last year. And with performances like the one he had tonight, the Rangers may have the best goalie tandem in the NHL.
- Team Speed – I feel like I say this after every game, but it needs to be said. The team speed is amazing to watch. When AV was coaching in Vancouver, his success came from his team’s ability to fly up the ice. And it seems like Jeff Gorton has put the pieces together up front to make the Rangers as dangerous as possible every single night.
- Special Teams – If there is one negative from the win over Tampa, it would be the power play. The Rangers went 0/5 including a 2 minute 5-on-3, in which the Blueshirts only had two shots on goal. As for the PK, another solid performance. The penalty kill had a few chances to score of its own, and had a good game. Stamkos got open for the goal late in the game, but it wasn’t a goal that was going to make a difference in this game.
- Faceoffs– One area that the Rangers have struggled in over the last few years has been the ability to win faceoffs. Tonight, the Rangers won 51% of the draws, and aside from Derek Stepan, all Rangers were over 50% for the night. The team is currently 11th in the league in FO%, although early, is far better than the 23rd ranking the team had last year
- Complete Team Win – This was the Rangers best 60 minutes so far this season. A complete team effort, behind solid goaltending and capitalizing on the opponents mistakes. Hopefully this will be the stepping stone that the team will use to fuel the rest of their season.
Next game: vs. Blues, Tuesday 11/1 at 7pm!
LETS GO RANGERS!