New Rangers lines: Kaapo Kakko back to the top line.

The Rangers put up a 7-spot for their 6th consecutive win last night, tying their season high. Chris Kreider scored his 6th career hat trick, and the Rangers finally beat Sam Montembault in regulation. The Rangers won their previous five in a row due to strong overall team defense ,and last night wasn’t a defensive masterclass by any means, but this is the kind of offensive output you hope to see against a team like the Canadiens.

Hopefully the defensive details will return, and perhaps we will finally see both offensive and defensive masterclasses in the same game. That time appears to be coming soon as the Rangers continue to recover from their January struggles.

One of the recoveries last night was on the powerplay. It has been a recent topic of conversation as they’ve been struggling to convert for an extended period of time. Before finally converting on a Kreider redirect, they were operating at an 0-for-18 clip.

It feels like designing plays around Kreider redirections and screens should be one of the primary plans to provide different looks from the Mika Zibanejad one-timers. They finally got one though, so let’s see how this goes going forward for the groups confidence. They’ll have a tough task coming up in the outdoor game, but you never know!

Speaking of Kreider, after a so-so first period and a terrible injury to Blake Wheeler, Zibanejad and Kreider got a rotation going of Jimmy Vesey and Alexis Lafrenière on their line. Vesey seemed like a great complement to the duo, hounding pucks, forcing turnovers, and making smart plays that led to a pair of Kreider’s goals.

The injury to Wheeler is absolutely terrible and it is not how you ever want changes in a lineup to happen, but to watch Vesey and Lafrenière work with Kreider and Zibanejad was still a thing of beauty.

The line of Will Cuylle, Jonny Brodzinski, and Kaapo Kakko has been brilliant coming out of the All Star break. That line scored twice last night (Cuylle, Kakko) and have a combined 5-6-11 in the five games since returning to action. For weeks, the talk has been the Rangers need a 3C, but in all honesty, they may have had one the whole time in Brodzinski. Makes you wonder about their trade deadline plans.

Looking ahead to the weekend, how did the NHL schedule makers allow Sunday’s Stadium Series game to be the first between the Rangers and Islanders this year? Seems like poor planning.

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