The New York Rangers defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2 in Columbus. For a box score, click here.
That was a fun game to watch, huh? I don’t want to call it playoff-like but I think we can say it was playoff-lite. It’s still early but this is when teams start to ramp it up. You could see that tonight as both teams fought for every inch.
I seem to be doing this every night but again I have to talk about the Miller-Hayes-Grabner line. That line has been absolute fire and I can only hope it continues through June. Seriously, that line could take the team straight to the Cup with how well they are playing. Down a goal, it was the penalty killing duo who won a center ice faceoff, got the puck in the Columbus zone and got the Jackets on their heels allowing Dan Girardi to blast it and tie the game. It was a perfect shot by Girardi but all the credit goes to Miller and Hayes, even with Hayes missing the puck right before Girardi’s shot.
Then, early in the third period, Kevin Hayes had a ridiculous individual effort to strip David Savard of the puck at center ice and come in all alone to put the Rangers in the lead. After the Rangers gave that one back seven minutes later, it was another Boston boy showing that Hayes wasn’t the only one with moves tonight.
I’ll admit when I saw Vigneault had (finally) switched Vesey and Buchnevich to start the game, I was happy. I have nothing against Vesey but I thought he was starting to hit a wall and was ready to see what Buchnevich could do in that spot. That switch lasted all of one period and I had every intention of questioning Vigneault for changing it back so quickly. Then Jimmy Vesey did this:
I don’t even have words for that move. As I keep saying, that’s why he’s the coach with all the records and I’m sitting on my couch writing about the game. I know people don’t like some of what he does but for the most part, the man knows what he is doing. Or just manages to get lucky that what he does works.
Then it was up to the defense and Antti Raanta, who was playing his first game since January 14th and looked like he hadn’t missed a beat. Sure the first goal he allowed wasn’t great but there was nothing he could do on the second and the saves he made after his team made it 3-2 is why the Rangers won. As Lundqvist did on Saturday, Raanta willed his team to win in the third. If the Rangers keep playing like they did tonight and continue to get the goaltending they have recently, they will win plenty of games in April, May and June.
So that makes it six in a row. Next up the Rangers go for seven but it won’t be easy as they are headed to Brooklyn on Thursday night. Here’s to hoping the ice will be better than the last time the Rangers were at Barclay’s Center.
(Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)