Rangers show their mettle in back to back weekend sweep, depth issues loom

Girardi celebrates GWG (J Silber/NHLI)

Girardi celebrates GWG (J Silber/NHLI)

The Rangers picked up 4 points this weekend in strong fashion. We outlined the comeback win against Washington here, but last night they were tired and outplayed, yet still won.

Similar Start

It took the Coyotes just 33 seconds to get on the board in this game on a similar deflection type goal that Caps got. Deflections from a few feet out are difficult to stop. Even Martin Brodeur used to hope it would just hit him. In this case, it didn’t and Lundqvist and the Blueshirts were behind again early.

The Rangers would respond a bit sooner this game when Josh Jooris scored a beauty on a Michael Grabner feed.

Lindberg Returns and the Rangers depth deepens

Oscar Lindberg made a surprise return to the lineup after it was announced Chris Kreider is day-to-day with a neck strain. Not a bad debut for Lindberg who played just over 10 minutes with an even rating. The stat that sticks out was his 77% winning percentage on draws.

Lindberg is best suited as the Rangers 4th line center, and even though Jooris scored, when Kreider returns he will be scratched. The interesting dilemma will be when Pavel Buchnevich returns. Who sits then?

There is no reason for it to be Brandon Pirri, but Alain Vigneault‘s M.O. is to stick with vets like Michael Grabner. Jesper Fast would be another possibility but AV loves him. One other option is for Oscar Lindberg to take a seat, but AV loves his defensive work.

Just like Clendening, it looks like Brandon Pirri will be the odd man out for no just reason. I hope not because it will hurt the Rangers PP.

Dan Girardi Belongs On This Team

After missing a few games with a groin strain, Dan Girardi made a triumphant return to the lineup. He scored the GWG and was the First Star.

Sadly, there are those who ignore what they saw last night because of advanced stats. Those who do not feel Girardi should be on the Rangers pointed to his CF% of 37 last night as proof. Conveniently ignoring that the entire team’s CF was 41 for the game and the best CF by a defenseman last night was Nick Holden at 41.94. Yes, the same Nick Holden these same people have been calling out because of those same numbers.

Possession stats are the third tool in the assessment box. It’s been said by several NHL coaches and GM’s. Stop prancing these numbers around everytime you need to make your arguments (when it’s convenient).

Lundqvist coming around

Back to back solid start by Henrik are a very good sign. His season save percentage has crawled over 900 and if it continues, maybe his slow start won’t be that bad.

Lundqvist 2016/17 game log (espn)

Lundqvist 2016/17 game log (espn)

Anthony Scultore has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL since 2014. His work also appears at... More about Anthony Scultore

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