Rangers Hold Off Late Surge In Third Consecutive Win

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Playing one final game before Thanksgiving, the Rangers wanted to enter the holiday on a positive note. After a great start, the Blueshirts stumbled a bit in the second but were able to hang on for a 3-2 victory at Madison Square Garden.

Mika Zibanejad – Despite missing a month with an upper-body injury, it was the Swedish center that started the scoring for David Quinn’s squad. As the team’s 5v3 advantage came to an end, rookie defenseman Adam Fox made a fantastic pass across to Zibanejad, who just had to elevate the puck over the outstretched Petr Mrazek for the early lead.

Zibanejad had a strong game, with three shots on net, two takeaways, and was the only of the top-three centers that won more than 50% of faceoffs. Looks like Mika didn’t miss a beat.

Brendan Smith – You know something, Brendan Smith has quietly had a solid season. You see his effort every night, getting in on the forecheck and grinding in the corners, as well as killing penalties when called upon. And with the Rangers having some extended zone time, Smith was rewarded for his hard work with his second goal of the season. Jesper Fast had his shot denied by Mrazek, but the rebound was swatted back to the point by Tony DeAngelo to Ryan Lindgren. The rookie slid the puck over to Smith, who was covering for DeAngelo, and the Etobicoke, Ontario native hammered it by Mrazek for an early 2-0 advantage.

Adam Fox – Though nobody knew it at the time, Adam Fox’s first-period goal would wind up being the game-winner. Fox deftly redirected Panarin’s shot for the rookie’s fourth tally of the season.

Fox isn’t just being mentioned here for his offensive prowess, something which was highly spoken about when the Rangers acquired the Long Islander. Fox also made a fantastic defensive play in the third period to prevent a scoring chance for the Hurricanes. Fox has arguably been the team’s best defenseman this season, and with him being just 21-years-old, he looks like he could be a star blueliner for the Blueshirts.

Too Many Men Again?! – One area that seems to be regressing for the Rangers is their inability to avoid too many men penalties. Last season, the common “excuse” was that it was a first-year coach still figuring things out. But that excuse is gone, and the Rangers need to figure out why this keeps happening. The Blueshirts have taken four too many men penalties this season, and that is far too many. The culprit this time was Brendan Lemieux, and David Quinn glued him to the bench for the rest of the second period. The Rangers are going to have to crack the code of why this unnecessary penalty keeps happening.

Henrik Lundqvist – Another game, another milestone for King Henrik. It was win number 456 for Lundqvist, who started his 1000th career NHL game (regular season and playoffs combined). Lundqvist backstopped the Blueshirts with 41 saves, including this save-of-the-year candidate in the second period. Lundqvist has now won two in a row and three of his last four starts.

Next Game: The Rangers head to Beantown for a Black Friday matchup with the Bruins. Puck drops at 1!


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