The Rangers have built some great momentum for the first 4-game winning streak of the season. What started out as an extremely poor first 10 minutes quickly turned into quite the hockey game for both teams. With the speed of the Devils early, it was clear they were prepared from puck drop that they were going to score first. The Devils peppered Igor Shesterkin with shots, the Rangers didn’t end up getting a shot on goal until about halfway through the first.
The Devils, with the Rangers help courtesy of turnovers, took the crowd out of it early. They put a couple of goals past Shesterkin off of some sloppy turnovers, and it seemed destined for another Rangers loss. The Rangers would end up rebounding, but this is something that they need to seriously clean up at this stage of the season. Slow starts will doom them at some point.
The Rangers have a need to bank points after blowing so many opportunities in October and November. Given it’s December already, they also need to win their divisional games, those important four point swing games. The Rangers are in a playoff spot right now, but it’s going to take more than this to hold it until the end of the year. If they clean up their mental mistakes with the puck and really go on a run, they can move up the standings quickly.
A good adjustment to avoid these slow starts is to get the lines right. The Rangers won the game after being down 2-0 early, but Gallant changed his lines and threw Barclay Goodrow on the top line with Mika Zibanejad and Artemiy Panarin. Anytime the puck went near Goodrow deployed that way, the offense died on his stick. We like Barclay Goodrow here, he serves a purpose and has a role on the New York Rangers. But like so many bottom sixers before him, he’s not a top six offensive player.
His role on those Tampa Bay Stanley Cup teams was as a shutdown player, not an offensive player. It begs the question: How does a guy on a 3rd line on back to back championship teams make sense as a first line RW? Goodrow’s value and his role is in the bottom six as a forechecking and shutdown pest that makes the Rangers difficult to play against.
But onto the huge positives: How about that Filip Chytil? He is currently on pace for about a 45-50 point season as this team’s 2C/3C, and his shooting woes from previous years seem to finally be behind him. The game winner last night was a great example of his confidence improvements and finally seeing some luck turn his way. Filda is sure filling the stat sheet this year with some huge goals.
Devils 1, Rangers 0
The Rangers lost the faceoff, and the Devils got a little lucky. Jonas Siegenthaler’s shot hit Nico Hischier and got through Igor Shesterkin, who clearly didn’t see it. Not the best net-front defending from Jacob Trouba either.
Devils 2, Rangers 0
Defensive zone turnover by Trouba, and it’s in the back of the net.
Devils 2, Rangers 1
The Rangers finally made their own luck by doing the little things. A perfectly executed breakout with smart passes along the boards, not up the slot, and the Rangers finally showed they have speed to start the 2-on-1. Chris Kreider with the excellent finish off the Vincent Trocheck pass.
Devils 3, Rangers 1
Alexis Lafreniere got caught in No Man’s Land as a result of the pinch from K’Andre Miller. Lafreniere was unable to knock down the clear but also not back enough to defend and be in position. That gave Jack Hughes room to do what Jack Hughes does.
Devils 3, Rangers 2
The Rangers powerplay finally got a shot from someone who wasn’t Mika Zibanejad, and it’s clear the Devils were caught off guard. The shot lane for Adam Fox was wide open and no one was on Trocheck in front. They are targeting Zibanejad.
Rangers 3, Devils 3
The Ranges woke up. This looked like a set play off the faceoff win, with Miller making a heads up play to join the rush after his chip to Filip Chytil. Chytil made a nice pass back, and no one picked up Kaapo Kakko at the back door, nor did Dougie Hamilton get a stick in the lane. He was a step too far back.
Rangers 4, Devils 3
This is a great play by Artemiy Panarin to force the turnover at the blue line for the zone entry. Chytil took the drop pass, used Damon Severson as a screen, and in one movement wristed one off the post. Panarin drew two Devils to him, which left Chytil open at the top of the circle.