St. Louis notches first as a Ranger as Vigneault wins in return to VancouverApril 2, 2014, by
Alain Vigneault got the best of his old club in his return to Vancouver, as the Rangers topped the Canucks 3-1 last night. The Rangers, who led 2-0 after the first, were pretty lucky to have leads after the first and the second. The Canucks really dominated the puck possession game, but Henrik Lundqvist was unbelievable in net, again, and really gave the Rangers the opportunity to win.
It’s late, so I’m keeping the non-goal breakdown stuff to a minimum. On to the goals:
Rangers 1, Canucks 0
Brian Boyle won the neutral zone face off cleanly back to Ryan McDonagh. McDonagh gained the zone and fired the puck off the boards, where it took a weird carom. Eddie Lack whiffed on it, allowing there to be a scramble in front. Lack was never able to freeze the puck, and Dan Carcillo was able to bang it home. There’s no picture on this goal, as all attempts came out really blurry.
Rangers 2, Canucks 0
With the Rangers on the powerplay, McDonagh (again) was able to keep the zone on an attempted clear by Kevin Bieksa. This led to some opportunities, and a Brad Richards shot that broke Alex Edler’s stick. Ryan Kesler gave his stick to Edler immediately after while the puck went out to McDonagh at the point. His shot on net was blocked with Benoit Pouliot in front drawing Bieksa’s attention. Both Bieksa and Edler went for the loose puck following the block, but Derick Brassard got there first. With Bieksa heading to him and Edler facing him, Pouliot was left wide open in front. Brass hit him with a great pass –that Kesler couldn’t deflect because he had no stick– and Pouliot had the easy goal.
Canucks 1, Rangers 2
There really isn’t much to complain about on this goal. Kesler won the face off clean, where Daniel Sedin picked up the puck and curled to the half boards with McDonagh on him. Dan Girardi was tying up Alex Burrows in front (with net-side positioning instead of fronting), and Dominic Moore was on Kesler as he cut to the slot. Sedin hit him with a great pass and Kesler was able to one-time it past Henrik Lundqvist with Moore all over him. Sometimes you get beat by great players.
Rangers 3, Canucks 1
Another game, another shorthanded goal for the Rangers. This time, Zach Kassian made a bling backhand pass to the point that was way out of the reach of Yannick Weber. Weber dove but couldn’t reach the puck, springing Rick Nash with MSL on his side for a 2-on-1. Nash fed MSL at the top of the circle, who was thinking shot the entire way. He roofed it over Lack for his first as a Ranger. John Tortorella had this reaction to the goal. Can’t blame him, St. Louis won a Stanley Cup for him, and now scored his first goal as a member of Torts’ old team against Torts’ new team, shorthanded.
As mentioned above, the Canucks really dominated the puck possession game (58% Fenwick-For ratio). It’s actually pretty scary, as the Rangers registered just one even strength Fenwich event from five minutes remaining in the second to the end of the game. Yet, they still won.
Win Expectancy Chart:
With the win, the Rangers have a three point lead on Philly –with the tiebreaker– with five games remaining. Philly has two games in hand though. The magic number to clinch a playoff spot is down to three (any combination of three points gained by the Rangers or lost by the Caps). The magic number to avoid a wild card spot is down to seven (any combination of seven points gained by the Rangers or lost by the Blue Jackets)."St. Louis notches first as a Ranger as Vigneault wins in return to Vancouver",