Admin Note: Welcome aboard Conall, who is our newest writer here. Conall is actually a college hockey coach, and he’s going to be a strong addition to the team here. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @ctmcnelis – he’s a great go-to for all systems and x’s and o’s analysis.
Is everyone still breathing? Holy cow what a fun/stressful game that was. The Rangers entered tonight winning 7 out of their last 8 and 3 in a row. And most importantly entered tonight 6 points out of a playoff spot and playing in a meaningful post trade deadline game for the first time since the 2016-17 season. The moms may be gone, but the love for our boys is still in the Air! Lets jump into some game thoughts.
- With the injury to Buchnevich Coach David Quinn opted to put Filip Chytil in his place on the wing for the first time this season. I understand Quinn’s thinking in wanting to get a skill player with Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider, but this forces the Blueshirts coach to put Brett Howden back to center. We have seen Howden struggle in the middle of the ice dating back to last season. Whether its the eye test or his underlying numbers the kid just doesn’t seemed destined for an NHL career at center.
- The Rangers got off to a slow start as they did not record a shot until after the 14:00 minute mark, but still managed to strike first thanks to Artemi Panarin scoring his career high 32nd goal of the season. I am new to the blog, but I just feel the need to show my appreciation for the guy. He makes $11,642,857 (thanks capfriendly) a season and somehow he is underpaid. After tonight (he added an assist later on) he now leads the NHL in 5v5 scoring with 65 points and up to 85 points total, good for 3rd in the league. He is elite in every sense of the word.
- Adam Fox is everything I would ever want out an NHL defenseman. His skating ability and IQ look to make him a Norris Trophy contender in the not so distant future. We all seemingly had a good feeling about this, but how about Ryan Lindgren? The 22 year old former 2nd round pick acquired in the Rick Nash trade has combined with Fox to makeup perhaps the Rangers best defensive paring.
- The left handed dman recorded his first career 2 point night with assists on the Rangers first and third goals. I tweeted this out, but he reminds me of a better skating left handed version of former Ranger Michael Sauer. Although not as big as Sauer, he is fantastic in his own end, is tough as nails, and can contribute in the offensive zone when needed. He is just one more piece to this rebuild puzzle that we all can be excited about.
- Alex Georgiev got the start tonight in lieu of the news that Igor Shesterkin will miss a few weeks with a rib injury due to the car accident that occurred on Sunday night, and boy did he step up. Georgiev recorded 42 saves on 45 shots, including 15 in the first period. Georgie might not be the guy with Igor around, but he is a damn good second option. Hats off to him for stealing a win and keeping the playoff hopes a live and well…and also for building that trade value for the draft 🙂
- Jacob Trouba hasn’t lived up to his 8×8 contract so far, but holy hell I did not realize what a physical presence he would be and he laid the hammer down on Michael Dal Cole at 15:38 of the 3rd. This lead to a skirmish with newly acquired Islander and notable Ranger killer Jean-Gabriel pageau jumping the Bluehshirts defender. From the angles I saw it looked like a clean hit. We will see if any dicsipline from the league comes.
- The Rangers lead 3-1 with under 10 minutes to go. The Isles thought they cut the lead to 3-2, but it was deemed no goal after Anders Lee interfered with Georgiev (this was confirmed after a coaches challenge from Trots, though I am not so sure) Regardless Jordan Eberle scored with 14:23 left and then Brock Nelson tied the game with 18 seconds left to push the game to OT. The Rangers were certainly outplayed, but man did this hurt.
- 28 seconds into overtime Mika Zibanejad ribbed a BOMB past Semyon Varlamov, after Panarin out-muscled three Isles defenders and set up Mika to just walk into one. I yelled just like the rest of you.
- Side note: good for Brendan Smith. Truly happy for the guy.
- See you all Thursday in Montreal.