Rangers Recall: One scoring line not enough in Toronto

NHL: New York Rangers at Toronto Maple Leafs
Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs played an exciting game on Saturday night. It had some big hits, great saves, nice goals, and a heavyweight bout. In the end, the Leafs would prevail after four rounds of the shootout for a 4-3 victory.

Once the adrenaline levels returned to normal after Matt Rempe squared off with Ryan Reaves, followed by Vincent Trocheck tying the game with 68 seconds on the clock and Igor Shesterkin pulled, a major issue remained.

One line was not enough to beat a very good Maple Leafs team.

Watch It: Rempe vs Reaves

Rangers Recall: Trocheck line not enough in Toronto

NHL: New York Rangers at Toronto Maple Leafs
Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Trocheck – Panarin – Lafreniere salvage point in Toronto

Here’s the stats for that trio against the Maple Leafs:

  • Vincent Trocheck (2 goals, 3 shots, +2)
  • Alexis Lafreniere (1 goal, 2 assists, 3 shots, +2)
  • Artemi Panarin (2 assists, 7 shots, +1)

This line was involved in every goal scored last night, including the game-tying tally with the goalie pulled. On that point saving sequence, Trocheck put home a big rebound of a Lafreniere shot after he received a pass from Panarin.

“Proud of the way we played,” Trocheck said after recording his 500th career point. “But no moral victories when you are trying to get two points.”

Aside from being the only forwards to register a point (defenseman Adam Fox picked up one assist), their 13 total shots represented 37% of all pucks fired at Leafs’ goalie Ilya Samsonov. They also posed the only real scoring threat the Leafs had to deal with all night.

Sadly, at 5-on-5 this has been the case in far too many games this season.

So where was the line of Mika Zibanejad (1 shot), Chris Kreider (5 shots), and Kaapo Kakko (0 shots)? New York’s third line of Jonny Brodzinski (2 shots), Will Cuylle (1 shot), and Jimmy Vesey (4 shots) appeared more effective with less ice time.

At the end of the day, this is a problem the Rangers must fix. It’s sadly obvious that Kakko’s style of play isn’t working with Zibanejad and Kreider. A straight line speedy winger that likes to shoot the puck and go to the net is likely the best option.

General manager Chris Drury has less than a week to make a trade as the NHL Trade Deadline is set for this coming Friday at 3 p.m. ET. A reunion with Anaheim Ducks All-Star Frank Vatrano would be the best option, but if he’s too expensive, Anthony Duclair of the San Jose Sharks may not be a bad fall back plan.

One thing is clear, something has to be done.

Anthony Scultore is the founder of Forever Blueshirts and has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL... More about Anthony Scultore

Mentioned in this article:

More About: