Rangers Steal Win In The Steel City

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Here is our Quick Hits recap of the Rangers 4-3 win over the Penguins.

Fourth Line – The fourth line of an NHL team is usually comprised of players who are going to do the dirty work, play strong defensively and provide an “energy boost” when the team needs one. But in this game, the trio of Carey-Nieves-Fast gave the team an offensive boost as well, providing the first two goals of the game for the Blueshirts.

The Rangers got on the board in the opening frame on the first NHL goal of Boo Nieves’ career. Kevin Shattenkirk sent a cross-ice pass to Mats Zuccarello, who had his shot attempt blocked. Zuccarello didn’t give up on the play and centered the puck to Nieves who beat Tristan Jarry between the legs to tie the game at one. This was just the start of a very solid performance from the 23-year-old. Nieves had the goal, a hit, a blocked shot, and was 60% on faceoffs. His strong play was rewarded by head coach Alain Vigneault, who had the youngster on the ice in the waning moments of the game, taking faceoffs against Sidney Crosby.

This line wasn’t done in this game, with Jesper Fast cashing in on Brady Skjei’s rebound. Skjei was able to rush the puck up the ice and take it strong to the net. Fast was “Jonny-On-The-Spot” following up the play, putting the rebound up and over Jarry. The goal was Fast’s fifth of the season, which is already one less than his total from last year.

Mats Zuccarello – The Norwegian assassin gave the Rangers the lead heading into the third period, finishing off JT Miller’s stretch pass to make it a 3-2 game. The goal was Zuccarello’s fifth of the season as well, and now gives him 22 points on the year, and puts Zucc tied for the team lead in points.

Pavel Buchnevich – Whether you score off of a triple deke or by scoring the “dirty goal,” they all count the same in the box score. But for Buchnevich, his goal was neither of those two, yet it gave the Rangers the lead and ultimately the win. While attempting to make a pass across the slot line, Buchnevich’s feed deflected off of Kris Letang and over Tristan Jarry and into the net. The Russian sophomore got his tenth goal of the season, and now has 21 points on the season. If there was any doubt that this kid deserves top-six minutes, he’s proved them all wrong with his play this season.

Work in Progress – The Rangers did pull out the win, but there are still plenty of areas this team needs to clean up. Eleven giveaways, for one, is something that this team can’t afford to keep doing. It’s not just the extra cross-ice pass looking for the fancy goal, but it’s also the behind-the-back or blind passes that almost always result in turnovers. And the other obvious area of concern is faceoffs, with the Rangers won just 44% of the draws in this one. Especially with Mika Zibanejad, the Rangers top faceoff man, out dealing with a concussion, the Rangers will need to find a way to win the majority of faceoffs over the next few games.


Ondrej Pavelec – After being pressed into action because Henrik Lundqvist was forced to miss this game with the flu, Pavelec did a good job in backstopping the Blueshirts. Pavelec made 41 saves on the night, including this save series on Guentzel and Malkin.

Pavelec was forced into a game he wasn’t supposed to start this game, but considering the circumstances, he played well. The Rangers have a tough week of Metro division matchups, and getting two points against the defending Stanley Cup Champions should be a good way to get the ball rolling.

“I think we played great in the first period. I think we slowed down a little bit in the second and it was a battle in the third. It was a good hockey game, I think. Not so much fun for the goalies, but we got the win and that’s huge for us.” – Ondrej Pavelec 

NEXT GAME: The Blueshirts are back in action on Friday night in the nation’s capital when they face the Washington Capitals. Puck drops at 7!


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