New Jersey Devils (6) / Rangers (4) Game Thoughts
Another game, another 5+ goals against. Though the Rangers from January until the last week or so were playing really well, everything has changed since they lost Kreider. The defense seems to have regressed to early season results of miscommunication, sloppy breakouts, and no effort to break up the rush at the blue line but rather give it up. You cannot expect your offense to put up 5-6 goals every game in order to win. While the term “just win baby” has been thrown around, if we want them to make the playoffs and actually make a run, they’ll need a better system than what we’ve seen the last 5 games. Okay, let’s get to some thoughts.
- Igor is back! Normally, you’d see a guy come back from a rib injury and think wow, but it was obvious that from the first goal given up that Igor is still feeling the effects of that injury. A shot from an impossible angle is something he would normally stop 99/100 times, especially when it was one of his first few shots against. He would eventually get pulled in favor of Henrik Lundqvist for the 3rd period after letting in 5 from poor defensive structure and slow reaction times from Shesterkin.
- Gauthier in the first period played on a line with Chytil and they seemed to develop some good line chemistry. Gauthier received a pass from Fox, wrapped around the net, and threw the puck to the slot for a little one timer from Chytil. Just a beautiful play all around. Gauthier is going to be a beast.
- Mika Zibanejad continued his scoring touch with another goal from Fox and Buchnevich, increasing his odds of scoring 50 goals this season. Pavel Buchnevich simultaneously matching his career high in points was also good to see him achieve. This line in particular though absolutely misses Chris Kreider. No offense to Phil Di Guissepe, but he’s just not Chris Kreider.
- The ex-Ranger curse reigns supreme as Frederik Claesson gets his first goal of the season
- Henrik chants when he was announced as the new goalie gave me some feelings…can he start against Dallas on Tuesday?
- I know Panarin/Strome/Fast used to score a bunch when Panarin was on a scoring heater, but that line looks flat as a pancake the last 7 games or so. You wonder what it would take to get Kakko or Gauthier significant chances/ice time on that line. I love Fast’s diversity in a lineup, but he’s not an everyday top 6 winger at all.
- Low event hockey in the third did not help the Rangers in getting the offense going. Way too much dumping and chasing the puck instead of trying to take it in and draw defenders in and opening up passing/shooting lanes.
- Underrated part of this game was also that Kenny Albert was on the call for the play by play. I know Sam is THE guy, but it’d be great if Kenny could get more MSG time rather than NBC time when announcing for TV. I do genuinely enjoy how he calls a game.
- With 3 minutes left to go and down 2 goals, Quinn actually thought it was smart to put Lemieux and Di Guiseppe out on the ice together to contribute offensively…I truly do not understand this coach at times.
- This team CANNOT afford many more losses, let’s hope they get going on another run soon.
Follow me on Twitter @TylerRichard93