Game Wrap-ups

Alexis Lafreniere gets overtime winner as Rangers snap skid

He's Here and He's Perfect...

To steal a word from the Joe Micheletti handbook, just a fabulous game from start to finish last night. From the drop of the puck, the Rangers showed some real poise, and some real tenacity with the puck–more than we’ve seen yet this season. The top six was finally clicking tonight and getting some glorious scoring chances. Despite a loss for him, give credit to Buffalo goaltender Linus Ullmark. He played out of his mind for 60 minutes. But it was a 2-on-1 cross creaser from Alexis Lafreniere, for his first NHL goal, that was the difference in overtime. You can’t say he didn’t give his team a chance with some of the saves he made. But let’s get to that more a little later shall we. Let’s break this one down!

The first period was an absolute shooting gallery for the Rangers; especially the top six players. Ryan Strome and Artemi Panarin had their best full stop games tonight. Strome scored off a dirty feed from Panarin in the trapezoid through a few defenders hitting Strome backdoor. It is a great sign and hopefully they will build off this as we progress into this season.

By the end of the period, the Rangers had generated 15 shots on goal vs 5 from the Sabres. A rare giveaway from K’Andre Miller unfortunately found its way onto Sam Reinhart’s stick, who threw it cross crease to a streaking Eichel who tapped it in on the backhand backdoor. Nothing Igor Shesterkin could have done.

A score of 1-1 late into the first would with this season made us think they would give up, but that could not have been further from the truth. The Rangers came out in the second and won the shots and puck possession battles again.  A nice goal from Panarin off a bouncing puck from the left circle to put the Rangers up 2-1.

This period–as well as the 3rd–had some of Lafrenière and Zibanejad’s best scoring chances we’d seen up to this point, but neither could buy a goal. A couple of net mouth scrambles, a few power plays, and some much crisper passes. Ullmark was just up for the test on each and every chance in regulation it felt.

The Sabres would eventually tie the game due to a big hit by Lindgren on Kyle Okposso that would take him out of the game for the rest of the night. On the ensuing power play, the Rangers couldn’t get the kill as Olofsson threaded a pass past Jacob Trouba (who had his stick on the ice not in the passing lane) and hit Reinhart perfectly backdoor in the early stages of the 3rd period.

As the rest of the game progressed, the Rangers once again at even strength dictated pace, possession, and flow of the game. It was also in this period that Strome would sustain a mild lower body injury and not play the rest of the game. That will be an interesting development should he have to miss time. We would be going to OT for this one.

Also completely unrelated, but isn’t it interesting that even with Jack Johnson out, integral piece of the McDonagh trade Libor Hajek can’t make this lineup huh? Anyways…

In overtime, Blackwell, Lafrenière, and Miller were the trio on the ice that ended it. Following a 2-on-1 chance against, Blackwell and Lafrenière would battle for possession in the neutral zone. Blackwell would eventually get a bounce and block a pass attempt with his skate and get a 2-on-1 with Lafrenière, with Eichel as the forward playing defense. Blackwell sauced it, Alexis Lafreniere corralled it, and ripped it past Ullmark for his first NHL goal and first overtime winner. About as epic of a first NHL goal as you can have. Sam Rosen couldn’t have had a better goal call either. The man was exuberant. That game was fun, let’s continue this!

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  • Even when the kid was not scoring, he was getting chances and not getting down on himself. It appeared like anyway.

    Blackwell appears to be a keeper, even as a 3C.

    Tyler, the McD trade is a disaster, and would only become tragic if Nils Lindqvist does not come here, ever. Nils is the only saving grace to this deal. Because Howden, no matter how much the coach forces him down our throats, is not it. He and Blackwell have the same # of pts, except that Howden has played the whole season, Blackwell 3 games.

    2 games no JJ, 2 of the best defensive games the Rangers have played so far. Not a coincidence, IMO. JD, JG, and DQ, you watching the games?

    Same lineup as last night, except for Gaut (who is MIA for some reason) in for Rooney and PLAY KAKKO MORE MINUTES, and you can ride this lineup for a long time.

      • I don’t get Kakko not getting more minutes. He has possessed the puck a lot more, which is an indication that he is more comfortable and confident.

        Not to mention that he is creating scoring chances.

    • Can I squeeze in here and add:
      (1) DeAngelo made the 1st PP unit much more dangerous because he is a terrific shooter as well as a passer (2) pair Kakko (more of a finesse player) with DeGuissippi (lunch pail guy like Jasper Fast). If DQ wants to play a north-south game, he needs to keep DeG and Blackwell in the lineup and give them minutes….they create room and space for the finesse guys! (3) coach Martin can’t keep sending Zib (he’s playing hurt!!) out there taking faceoffs in the d-zone on PK! Losing another clean face-off led directly to Sabres PP goal! LAF was given all sorts of opportunities last night….it’s time for the coaches to give Kakko the same “love”! Gotta develop both Laf and Kakko….should be the mandate from JG and JD!!

      • Blackwell and PDG give us a lot of options. I see both as good complimentary players for the likes of Kakko and Lafreniere. When Chytil comes back it will be interesting to see which forwards sit.

      • It’s funny about the “north-south” stuff, because Valliquette clearly stated between periods that NHL goals are scored “east-west.”

        Which in of itself shows how out of touch the coach is. That he is forcing the college game on talented NHL players.

        Kakko was dominating when he was out there, possessing the puck and creating scoring chances. A line of Lafren-Chytil-Kakko is very exciting to me.

        Not playing Gaut over the likes of Rooney and DG is either dumb, or there is something behind the scenes. Again.

    • Blackwell is the type of player that we need on the 4th line…. we could use three Blackwells… grit… hustle… and not afraid to go into the corners.

  • Team played like a TEAM! Close to 60 minutes of desperate hockey. It is about time. Leave the top 3 lines alone please. Keep JJ out of the lineup.

    Only 1 win, but we got a strong effort from all. Nice to see DQ have faith in LaFren, Blackwell and K.Miller in OT.

  • The Rangers won as a team, instead of losing as a team, and looked a hell of better doing it. Congrats to Alexis, the young man is poised, great addition. Mr. Blackwell, welcome to New York. Great game, even the coach looked good by not being too involved and let the team play. Anybody seen Gauthier?

  • How about we put D’andre Miller on our # 1 Power play standing at 6’7″ on skates. Have him positioned right in front of the goalie. It would open the top and sides for Paranin, Mika and point shots. It would take 2 players to move miller and the goalie would never see a thing. Thoughts?

  • They came out determined,played well. This is probably their lineup they can put out.
    How funny JJ was fine after the first game in Buffalo and he suddenly has a groin strain.
    Did anyone notice Rooney took Howden’s spot the last 10 minutes of the 3rd period.. Rooney was with Kreids and Kakko!
    Maybe put Blackwell in as 3C and Gaut back in for Sat?

  • Much sharper game by the Rangers in just about every respect. Even the coach was better! Igor still seems a bit less dominant than he is capable of being, but he should straighten out.

    Meanwhile, looks like the Sabers have got themselves a goalie. He looks to be quite good. They’ve always been my second favorite NY hockey team, so it will be nice to see them be competitive for a change.

  • Good win, even better effort.

    But as I said yesterday, now do it again….and again. This win won’t mean anything if they come out flat again tomorrow.

  • Blackwell made sure to skate to the boards and collect the puck for LaF immediately after the goal, before joining the celebration. I love team players.

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