The New York Rangers defeated the Vancouver Canucks tonight by the score of 7-2. For a box score, click here.
After the utter disaster at the Garden last Tuesday against the Canucks, it was pretty easy to assume that tonight’s game was going to be a mirror image of that game coming off a miserable first 20 minutes. Except, maybe JT Miller’s late first period goal off his skate gave the Rangers some life heading into the second period.
I’ll go over this more in the morning, but Zuccarello may have saved the Rangers from a poor fate tonight with an otherworldly performance. It’s easy to get lost with the other things he does, but the strip/steal and passing by the Rangers in the Vancouver zone before Holden’s pass back over to Zucc to make the score 6-2 was just jaw-dropping.
Hayes’ two goal night was the first in his career, embarrassing Markstrom on both occasions. First, unloading a slapper in the high slot that slipped by the Canucks’ netminder to make the score 2-0, then dekeing Markstrom out of his jock to make it 4-1 early in the third which took the life out of the Canucks after they got a late goal in the second.
Forget the score to tonight’s game for a minute. Anyone staying up for this had to be cringing at the repeated sight of Rangers limping in pain to the bench. Hayes, Fast, Stepan all took pucks to assorted areas of their legs tonight. All three came back to play fortunately. This team does not need another injury to a key player up front.
Special teams came through for the Rangers in a big way tonight. The Rangers were credited with 21 blocked shots, most coming on the PK which had a few nail-biting moments. The power play did well, scoring twice on three tries, including a Holden whistler from the blueline that laughably beat Markstrom five-hole late in the third. Pirri found his fifth goal of the season cleaning up the trash in front off a Zibanejad shot from his office in the left circle.
In case you needed another reminder of the Rangers’ incredible goal scoring output this season….
Boo Nieves didn’t look out of place in 11:44 of TOI tonight. Not quite full time NHL ready yet, but you can see why AV likes him so much.
On a night like tonight where the Rangers savage another poor goaltender’s save percentage, it’s worth reminding folks that eventually this scoring output will quell a little bit. The Rangers possession numbers are in the bottom middle compared to the rest of the league 17 games in, but the major difference here is that the Rangers are getting the bulk of their chances in the high danger areas in front of the net. Teams will eventually adapt to how the Rangers generate on offense, especially on the other side of the winter once the games get tighter and there’s less room on the ice. Enjoy it for now, but be wary down the line.
The Rangers head back state-side with one final stop on the road trip in Columbus on Friday to take on the Blue Jackets.