Too late now to say Jarry – Rangers win finaleApril 10, 2017, by
The regular season finally came to an end, with the Rangers defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2. With both teams resting some of their top players, the game took on the feel of a preseason contest, though the Blueshirts definitely iced a better lineup and mostly dominated play.
Trying to assess the team or identify anything of significance from this game would be a fool’s errand, but there were some standout performances. Ryan McDonagh dispelled any notion that an injury might hamper his playoff push, as he notched a goal and an assist. Jimmy Vesey also stood out in his role on the left wing of Mika Zibanejad and Rick Nash, a line that figures to be kept in tact when the playoffs begin on Wednesday or Thursday night.
The most important moment on Sunday night happened before the game even began. For the third time in the last four seasons, Mats Zuccarello won the Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award, as voted on by the fans. What is always an emotional ceremony took on an extra layer of significance this season, after Detective McDonald’s passing back in January. Zuccarello joined Adam Graves and Ryan Callahan as the only players to win the award three times.
When the game began, both teams went through the motions of meaningless, early-April hockey with no playoff implications. Pittsburgh’s Nick Bonino scored the first goal of the game, burying a rebound from right at the top of the crease. But before the first period ended, the Rangers would grab two goals.
Ryan McDonagh’s goal came off a strong solo rush from his own zone. The captain crossed the offensive blue line and ripped a wrist shot past Penguins third-string goaltender Tristan Jarry. Five minutes later, McDonagh set up Derek Stepan for a one-time power play goal, which gave the Rangers a 2-1 lead at the end of one.
Pittsburgh tied the game off an egregious Kevin Klein turnover, as Carter Rowney intercepted a cross-ice pass at the Ranger blue line, walked in and beat Magnus Hellberg. Klein, whose spot in the lineup is anything but secure, played most of the game with Brady Skjei. Brendan Smith, solid since the Rangers acquired him from Detroit, was rested in this one, but it would be a surprise if he wasn’t in the Game 1 lineup.
The final goal of the 2016-2017 season was scored by Jimmy Vesey, and it turned out to be the game-winner. Mika Zibanejad recovered his own face-off win and flung the puck towards the net, where Vesey settled, then roofed a backhand over Jarry’s glove. The goal was Vesey’s 16th of the year, putting a nice cap on a solid season for the rookie out of Harvard.
All in all, the Rangers played a successful Game 82. No one was injured and they won the game, their 48th victory of the season, for 102 points and the eighth best record in the NHL.
But as the story goes in the NHL, none of that matters now. The Montreal Canadiens await, and Game 1 of the 2017 playoffs is just a couple of days away."Too late now to say Jarry - Rangers win finale",