The New York Rangers defeated the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena yesterday. J.T. Miller tallied the game’s only goal in overtime.Sure, yesterday’s matinee against the Detroit Red Wings was certainly not one of the more exciting New York Rangers’ games from a scoring perspective.
Having said that, the game did have somewhat of a playoff feel to it.
Both teams played tight defense, blocked shots, clogged the passing lanes and boasted goalies who made some key saves.
Both Henrik Lundqvist and Jared Coreau played solid games, but this shutout was a big one for Hank.
It would be an understatement to say that Hank has been struggling lately. If you have watched Lundqvist over the years, he just hasn’t looked like the confident goaltender which we all have come to know.
The new (and not improved) Lundqvist often shrugs his shoulders and sighs while looking towards the rafters. His play isn’t sharp either, as he has been out of position more often that not lately.
Most athletes will try to simplify their game when slumps occur, and that’s just what The King did yesterday. His positioning was better, he didn’t play the puck often(thankfully), and he didn’t look like a flopping beached whale.
Lundqvist was rewarded for his strong positioning too, with key saves like this one on Tomas Tartar.
Yesterday’s game was a big win for Hank, but the royal Swede will need to string together some more efforts like this one before we can rest easy.
The big three (Mika Zibanejad, Pavel Buchnevich, Rick Nash) all look like players who have missed time. While Buchnevich looks like he is shedding a portion of the rust, Nash and Zibanejad look slow.
Unfortunately, this is an act that we have become accustomed to seeing with Nash. While you can’t exactly fault Nash for these situations, injuries always seem to slow the big forward just when he starts to heat up.
For now, fans should cross their fingers and hope Nash isn’t playing with the fear of injuring his groin. If this is the case, you should get used to seeing him stay to the outside and fire harmless pucks on goal from the perimeter … again.
The Rangers weren’t able to find their lethal speed in this game. While Detroit did a solid job of clogging up the passing lanes, the Rangers didn’t exactly help themselves.
There were a plethora of bad passes on the breakout and through the neutral zone. Plenty of these passes weren’t crisp and were often behind their intended players.
To piggyback off of this point, I really believe that the Rangers are thinking too much. If you go back and watch some games from the beginning of the year (yes, I did this), you’ll see quick decisions with the puck from both a passing and shooting perspective.
This play has all but dissipated from just about every player, minus Michael Grabner.
While watching the past few games, you can almost see the players making decisions in real time, especially on the power play.
Speaking of the power play, remember when it was the fourth best in the league? Yeah, me neither.
The power play is a microcosm of some of the issues the Rangers are having with their entire offensive play. Players telegraph passes and often stop moving their feet when they don’t have the puck. No good.
Kevin Hayes‘ lower body injury didn’t look good and couldn’t have come at a worse time. Hayes has been one of the most consistent players in the offensive zone this season. A leg injury would be a considerable blow to the Rangers’ offense.
This next point is nit-picky, I know, but I still say that Mats Zuccarello has to start scoring. Sure, he shares the titles of points leader with Derek Stepan, but his eight goals is not enough.
Zucc is a fan favorite, so he rarely takes heat. But can you imagine if Rick Nash only had eight goals on the season? To me, Zucc can go for large stretches of games without being noticeable, which needs to improve if the Rangers are going to make a dent in the playoffs.
The Rangers defense is like the C.I.A.. Their failures are well documented, but their successes are often not.
Dan Girardi had one of his best games of the season yesterday. He and Ryan McDonagh were the only defensemen who were consistently creating strong breakout opportunities.
J.T. Miller is quietly stringing together some strong games for the Rangers. His play isn’t flashy by any means, but his consistent grind is paying off.
Yes I game Zuccarello a hard time earlier in this very article. but this goal wouldn’t have happened without his tremendous head fake.
The Rangers will be right back at it tonight when they take on the Los Angeles Kings at the Garden.