Rangers Win First Of The Season

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In a game where the Sharks outshot the Rangers 43-27, Henrik Lundqvist turned back the clock and stole the first win of the season for the Blueshirts.

Brett Howden – You can make a very strong case that rookie center Brett Howden has been the best player for David Quinn’s squad over the first four games of the season. He is tenacious on the puck, always gives full effort and isn’t afraid to go to the dirty areas. And with the Rangers trailing the Sharks 1-0 in the first period, Howden went to the dirty area and scored on Aaron Dell in a manner words can’t adequately describe.

The goal was Howden’s second of the season and the third point of his premier campaign with the Blueshirts. Howden played between Chris Kreider and Mats Zuccarello in this one, and the trio had numerous chances at the San Jose net. Perhaps Quinn keeps this line together for the foreseeable future.

Brendan Smith – In the season following his signing a multi-year contract, Smith was sent down to the minors because he wasn’t able to find his game. Coming into training camp this season determined to regain the trust of the organization, the 29-year-old defenseman has played much more akin to the player he was when the Rangers first acquired him. And all of his hard work over the offseason paid off against San Jose with Smith scoring the tying goal off of a great pass from Pavel Buchnevich. Smith is slowly finding his game and as long as he keeps giving maximum effort every night, he’ll be a mainstay on the Blueshirts’ blue line.

Brady Skjei – Now a veteran at the ripe old age of 24, Skjei has been counted on as a key cog for the Rangers defensive corps. Skjei got utterly embarrassed on San Jose’s first goal when Marcus Sorensen deked Skjei twice before beating Lundqvist with a wrist shot. But Brady made up for it by scoring the game-winner just 37 seconds into overtime. Skjei drove the net and fired a sharp angle shot over the shoulder of Aaron Dell to send MSG into a state of euphoria. As I mentioned, Skjei is being counted on for his consistency on the back-end and scoring the GWG will only boost his confidence.

Tony DeAngelo – So if Brendan Smith and Brady Skjei were the positives from the defensemen, Tony DeAngelo was the negative from the defensemen. DeAngelo had two giveaways, took a horrible interference penalty, and literally was falling over his own skates.

With David Quinn showing that he has no problem taking anybody out of the lineup for poor play, I think it’s very safe to assume that DeAngelo will not be suiting up for the Rangers next game.

Henrik Lundqvist – King Henrik went full #TBT in this one, making 41 saves, including a handful of beauties, to keep his team in the game. And with having not played in nearly a week, it was good to see that Henrik didn’t lose a step after that extended break. Performances like this one will keep the Rangers competitive night after night.

Next Game: The Rangers will look to get their second win of the season on Saturday when they host the Oilers. Puck drops at 1:00!


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