The New York Rangers made it six wins in a row last night, topping the Carolina Hurricanes by a score of 3-0, giving Henrik Lundqvist his first shutout of the season. This isn’t one of those games that the Rangers were “lucky to escape,” despite getting outplayed for stretches by the Canes. However, the Rangers were certainly prone to playing down to their inferior opponent. They had a weak start to the game and a weak finish to the second period. Hank stood tall throughout, as per usual, stopping all 33 shots he faced.
Despite the periods of relatively weak hockey at times, the Rangers were still solid on the forecheck, and it resulted in their first two goals, both scored in a 13 second window in the first period. It wasn’t their forecheck that was the problem, that’s for sure. Rick Nash was a force all game, and Mats Zuccarello played probably his best game as a Ranger.
What was a problem, aside from the defensive zone play, was the undisciplined play. The Rangers took six penalties in this game. Their penalty killing is top notch though, so they killed them all off. It’s been a problem for a few games though.
Rangers 1, Canes 0
This play started with a solid pinch by Kevin Klein, which kept the play alive. The Rangers worked the puck around to the opposite point to Keith Yandle, who purposely fired the puck to the corner. Emerson Etem tipped the boucne back to Jesper Fast, who wristed it past Cam Ward.
Rangers 2, Canes 0
Dan Girardi stepped up in the neutral zone to force a turnover at the center line, where Rick Nash collected the puck and gained the zone. He dropped the puck to Mats Zuccarello and then cut to the net. Zucc waited for a passing lane, then slid the puck to Nash low, who deked around Ward and put the puck in the empty net.
Rangers 3, Canes 0
Ryan McDonagh gets off the schneid. His shot from the point goes in off Ron Hainsey’s skate. Sometimes you just need a little luck.
This echoes what was said above. The Rangers really didn’t have a good start to the game, and then had a bad end to the second period. The shell in the third period wasn’t pretty to watch either, but by that point the game was over.
More of the same when it comes to high quality chances. The Rangers really flatlined for the second half of the game. This one isn’t pretty.
More of the same from a possession standpoint. The first three charts are usually related to an extent.
I always find shift charts against bad teams to be interesting. It’s clear Alain Vigneault wanted McDonagh/Girardi out there with Eric Staal, at least initially. After that, there weren’t any real matchups that AV wanted to exploit. That’s a combination of an early lead and a bad team.
The Rangers were not all that dangerous throughout the game. They got almost nothing from the box area. But with bad goaltending and good shooting, you don’t need that many chances.
It hasn’t been perfect hockey. The last three games have been rather infuriating, considering the weak competition and some periods of uninspired play. However the Rangers have won six in a row, and are 8-0-2 in their last ten games. Tough to complain. Enjoy the ride while it lasts, folks.