Despite struggling defensively, the Rangers managed to escape the week without much damage with help from an unlikely player.
This week was a tough week for the Rangers, who lost their number one center Mika Zibanejad, to a concussion. With Zibanejad out of the lineup, several players needed to step up their game to make up for Zibanejad’s absence.
Even though the team didn’t play at their absolute best at times this week, they were able to make up for that with big performances from all four lines. This is something that head coach Alain Vigneault has preached all throughout his time with the Rangers and it’s starting to look like all four lines are clicking now.
With that here are this week’s three stars.
When Chris Kreider is hot no one is stopping him.
Fans are starting to see the type of success that Kreider had a season ago. With two goals this week, Kreider has now scored five goals in his last five games. With his two goals against the Florida Panthers, Kreider has reached the 10 goal mark of the season. In each full season Kreider has played in the NHL he has recorded 10 or more goals.
Kreider is on the verge of a couple of milestones that can be possibly be reached in the Rangers next game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. With a goal and an assist, Kreider will reach the 100 total in each category for his career. He is also just two points shy of 200.
Michael Grabner has scored 40 goals in time with the Rangers.
The production that the Rangers have gotten from Grabner has been completely unexpected. His 13 goals lead the Rangers this season and he is seventh on the team with 15 points.
Grabner’s hat-trick against the Carolina Hurricanes was his fifth career hat-trick. He leads the NHL with six empty net goals, and he had two of them this week. Grabner has been everything the Rangers could have wanted and more. He, Mats Zuccarello, and J.T. Miller seem to have found some chemistry and have become a solid second line for the Rangers.
With Mika Zibanejad out, David Desharnais was called upon to fill in on the Rangers first line.
Since being moved between Chris Kreider and Pavel Buchnevich, Desharnais has picked up four points: one goal and three assists. Obviously, Desharnais is playing with much more skill than he was when he saw time with the Rangers fourth line.
The Rangers will take all the production they can get from Desharnais who is filling in quite nicely. He saw himself move from a healthy scratch to the centering the teams best line. If he keeps putting up points the “KZB line” will soon become the “KDB line.”
- Pavel Buchnevich: Three points in two games.
- Brady Skjei: Skjei has been playing solid in a larger defensive role while picking up an assist in two games this week.