Don’t look now, but the New York Rangers are on a winning streak. After a shaky start that had Jonathan Quick playing hero for the first period, the Rangers eventually found their groove and went on to have a great 2nd and 3rd period en route to a 3-0 win. If you had money on Quick getting the first shutout for the Rangers, congrats, you are lying!
Though the underlying metrics tell a story of Edmonton out-chancing the Rangers, the Rangers were clearly frustrating the Oilers. They were taking low percentage shots, Quick wasn’t giving up too many rebounds, and without McDavid, the Oilers are about as mediocre as one can get. I was half expecting a jersey to be thrown on the ice by an Oilers fan with the amount of booing they were doing.
The French Toast line as they have been loosely called (Artemi Panarin-Filip Chytil-Alexis Lafrenière) had another fantastic game. They scored yet again in this contest. They are looking like the modern day GAG line. Always a threat to score, precise shooting, spending great stretches of time in the offensive zone, and Chytil even broke up a 3-on-1! Start getting those Selke votes going now.
In all seriousness though, this line has been the stuff of legends early in the season. Lafrenière taking one-timers from Panarin and scoring gives one a certain feeling. I can’t believe it took this long for them to become a line, but I think within the Peter Laviolette structure is why they are so dominant. Lafrenière is extremely confident, something we haven’t seen before. It’s about time the Rangers had a consistent scoring line like this with so much promise.
Quick isn’t done yet
Jonathan Quick has turned back the clock. The backup position has been an Achilles heel in some aspects the last number of years for the Rangers. There was very little consistency, even with Jaro Halak, who posted solid numbers. So far, Quick has provided that consistency, albeit with just two games under his belt.
The Rangers defense has been solid, which has played a big role in Quick’s shutout after the first period. But this blue line isn’t a one trick pony. They can put the puck in the net as well. Last night was Braden Schneider’s turn to get involved, with a nice goal off a rush chance with Jimmy Vesey. This is on top of all the other threats on defense, notably Adam Fox and whichever defenseman wants to join him in contributing on offense on any given night.
What is a kicking motion anyway?
As an aside, the NHL really needs some consistency in what a “distinct kicking motion” is. Will Cuylle’s goal –a deflection off his skate– was called by by Toronto, which shouldn’t be too surprising given the inconsistency around the call. Like goaltender interference, there appears to be no standards at all when it comes to “what is a ‘distinct kicking motion’ or ‘ what is goaltender interference.”
Luckily this botched call didn’t have an impact on the game. But the Rangers must lead the league in disallowed goals this year, right?