It is nice to be watching New York Rangers hockey once more, it’s even better when it’s winning New York Rangers hockey. It’s no secret that going into the All-Star break, the Rangers were struggling to find ways to win hockey games. Last night was a great example of what makes good hockey teams, and is a cause for hope for this Rangers team.
For what felt very lifeless with 3 penalties taken in the first period, the Rangers got their acts together as the game went on. It was their first game in 9 days, so it was all but inevitable that it’d look choppy at best. To be fair though, both teams flew out of the gate, but it was a 1-0 game until the third.
A major reason for that 1-0 score throughout was the continued brilliance of Jonathan Quick, who I have completely exhausted the proper adjectives to evaluate the level of play he’s achieved this season. It is remarkable to watch as he’s turned back the clock and has been a difference maker in net. Good to see that the rest time didn’t seem to effect his game.
The only goal against was off an insane rush chance by Nathan MacKinnon that maybe he and Connor McDavid alone can attempt, breaking the 1-3-1 singlehandedly. Sometimes, the best players in the world are the best players in the world. Quick was great in response though locking it down the remainder of the game including some dandies in the 3rd and OT periods.
I asked #NYR Peter Laviolette about Nathan MacKinnon individually beating the 1-3-1.
The head coach took full responsibility for the goal against.
— Jonny Lazarus (@JLazzy23) February 6, 2024
Alexis Lafrenière is starting a trend for himself. Last year, the first game back from the All-Star break was that chaotic but fun Calgary Flames game where Lafrenière scored the OT winner in that game assisted by Mika Zibanejad. He would repeat that same scenario against the Avalanche, scoring the OT winner assisted by Zibanejad.
LAFRÉNIERE IS THE OT HERO 👏 pic.twitter.com/4t9lXvXrfN
— B/R Open Ice (@BR_OpenIce) February 6, 2024
It’s not great needing OT all the time, but it is funny that seems to be a trend for Lafrenière. This time last year, playing primarily 3rd line minutes, he had 7 goals. This year he’s doubled it (13 goals, rounding for my own advantage is fun). It is not just great to see his counting stats increase–in what will definitely be a career year–but he just looks like a difference making player at long last.
Maybe, sometimes, you just need the right coach and the right situation.