Rangers goal breakdown: Fourth line dominates in win over Isles

kevin rooney

The fourth line dominates this Rangers goal breakdown as the Rangers ensured the Isles remain winless at UBS Arena. In their defense, the Isles were without their top 50 players, as the team has been decimated by COVID protocol. The fourth line had a pair of goals, with Kevin Rooney scoring both and Ryan Reaves getting a pair of assists. Chris Kreider had two goals as well.

This game was a bit of a gimme, but it’s still a game you need to win. The Rangers did just that, and dominated the game as well. They have well over 65% of the expected goals share at even strength. This game was also a slog, with the Isles clogging things up. This is the kind of hockey you’ll see in the playoffs, so seeing the Rangers dominate and win is a good sign of things to come.

Rangers 1, Isles 0 – Kreider again

Chris Kreider is the best net front presence in the NHL, bar none. Aside from the beautiful deflection, it’s how he read the play. He was in front of the net, then watched as Ryan Strome received the puck at the off wing, and rotated to the low post. He left his stick out for Strome to hit, and all he had to do was change the angle. He makes it look so easy.

Rangers 2, Isles 0 – The fourth line delivers

The fourth line forced the Isles into a neutral zone turnover, then turned the rush the other way. Barclay Goodrow’s deflection on Ryan Reaves’ shot was stopped, but he got behind Semyon Varlamov and threw the puck in front, where Kevin Rooney was untouched to tap it in. No one picked up Rooney at the back door, which is a bit expected given the AHL lineup.

Rangers 2, Isles 1 – Fronting?

This was an interesting goal, not because of the deflection by Andy Andreoff, but because of how Adam Fox and Ryan Lindgren played that. They left the guys in front open, and played in front of them. That’s called fronting, which is what Henrik Lundqvist preferred. It gives the goalie more visibility, but the risk, as we saw, is deflection opportunities.

Rangers 3, Isles 1 – Reaves the dangle machine

The fourth line forced a turnover, and then Ryan Reaves dangled around a defenseman before a perfect feed to Rooney for his second.

Rangers 4, Isles 1 – The top line gets fancy

The Rangers top line got fancy, which makes for a fun goal. After the dump in, Kaapo Kakko and Mika Zibanejad combined for the turnover, which went to Kreider. Kreider went with the between the legs touch pass to Zibanejad, who went back to Kreider for the goal. Just fun to watch, and the forecheck created the turnover.

Game Flow – Almost entirely Rangers

The Rangers really controlled most of this game. The Isles had flashes of course, but this was a complete Rangers domination.

Shot Heatmap – Many chances in front

The Isles had a lot of location on their shots, showing they were just firing whenever they could because they couldn’t set anything up. The Rangers got most of their chances in low, courtesy of the 4 actual NHLers the Isles dressed.

This game was not just a must-win because of who the Isles dressed, but a must-dominate because of whot he Isles dressed. The Rangers did both. Now on to that Black Friday showdown with the Bruins, one of the nice traditions the Rangers have around this time of the year.