As the New Year continues to unfold, the New York Rangers had a busy week with plenty of action before their bye week began.
For the New York Rangers, the first week of the New Year was a busy one. They took part in the 2018 Winter Classic, playing a total of four games in seven days.
Some things change in a new year and some things don’t. For the Rangers, one thing that hasn’t changed is getting contributions from up and down the lineup. Those continued contributions have helped them continue to be apart of the playoff picture in the Metropolitan Division despite some inconsistent play.
With that here is the first edition of the New York Rangers three stars of the week in 2018.
3. J.T. Miller
J.T. Miller continues his progression and is becoming more reliable every game.
Zuc to Shatty with the wrister from the point that J.T. Miller cleans up to win the Winter Classic 3-2 in overtime. #NYR pic.twitter.com/8pKgCu5T96
— Elite Sports NY (@EliteSportsNY) January 1, 2018
It’s clear that head coach Alain Vigneault is starting to trust Miller more and more each game and he is receiving minutes at crucial points of the game. That was the case in the Winter Classic as you could see Miller doing the right thing in front of the net screening the goaltender.
Along with the goal in the Winter Classic, Miller added an assist and now has 27 points on the season. He has moved up playing alongside Mika Zibanejad in an effort to get Zibanejad going again. All great signs coming from a player who is on the verge of becoming great.
2. Ondrej Pavelec
He only played one game this week, but boy has Ondrej Pavelec turned into a solid backup.
Another odd-man rush to end the period, because Pavelec hasn't faced enough pic.twitter.com/uJAzR1HRsk
— Shayna (@hayyyshayyy) January 8, 2018
It is amazing how far Ondrej Pavelec has come after looking really shaky in the pre-season. He has turned his season around and went from a player Alain Vigneault was hesitant to use to someone he isn’t afraid to put in the lineup.
After his start a week ago where he shutout the Washington Capitals 1-0 at Madison Square Garden, Pavelec continued his strong play against the Vegas Golden Knights. Against Vegas, he made 32 saves in a game where the Rangers allowed way too many odd-man rushes. If Pavelec can keep this pace up, he will most definitely get more time following the Rangers bye week.
1. Henrik Lundqvist
Sometimes Henrik Lundqvist can win you a game you have no business winning.
After improving to 4-0-0 in his career in outdoor games, Henrik Lundqvist to improve on his great numbers indoors. Lundqvist weathered the storm when the Rangers needed him to all week as he continued to face a ridiculous amount of shots. He faced 105 shots this week and stopped 95 of them as the Rangers would two of the three games he played.
Lundqvist had to make 38 saves Saturday night against the Arizona Coyotes in a game that he flat out stole from Arizona. He continues to play some of the best hockey of his career and has posted a .938 save percentage since the start of December.
- Mika Zibanejad: Two goals in four games this week.
- Jimmy Vesey: One goal playing in a much bigger role this past week.