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Rangers Vs. Red Wings: Trust The Process Not The Result II

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Detroit Red Wings v New York Rangers Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
  • We’re going to learn a lot about the way the brass of this organization thinks by what they do between now and Saturday’s game against the Washington Capitals. Especially if Dan Girardi is given the green light to return.
  • Why? Well, this was another game where the Rangers outright dominated. The blew the doors off Detroit from start to finish, nearly doubled them up on shot attempts (56-34) and scoring chances (24-14) at even strength. That doesn’t even include special teams (where the Rangers were just as dangerous on the PK as Detroit was on the PP). All situation totals? 74 shot attempts for the Rangers against 44 for Detroit. And 33 scoring chances for the Rangers while Detroit posted 18.
  • So let’s get back to the top point: Who are you sitting to keep Girardi in the lineup? Adam Clendening is the guy only on paper. Through four games Clendening has a 68% corsi for. That’s not against cupcake matchups either, since Clendening has seen time in the top four and even on the top pairing with Ryan McDonagh. Nick Holden has has moments of horror, but away from Marc Staal he hasn’t been a total disaster. Still, both Holden and Staal are sporting a 48% corsi-for, which is by far the lowest of the defenseman. (Girardi comes in right at 50% and Klein was 53% last night). That’s somewhat telling since the Rangers have been so dominant, but I would be shocked if Vigneault sat Holden even though that’s the right move — well, the right move outside of keeping the defense as it is.
  • Chris Kreider earns a secondary assist (seven points in his first four games this year), moving the puck off the boards to McDonagh who sees his point-shot get deflected by Mika Zibanejad. It’s the perfect start to the game. It’s also the last time the Rangers will find the back of the net.
  • That line was great again, although I still like it a hell of a lot more with Pavel Buchnevich (who was out with back spasms again) than Rick Nash. Nash had another monster game, was all over the ice and was a +16 in shot attempts. He was really good there, despite the continued hate for him because he “doesn’t score goals.”
  • Zibanejad had a slew of chances outside of his goal. I really can’t believe the Rangers got him for Derick Brassard. Signing him to a long-term, affordable deal is going to be the cloud that hangs over him until it’s done, but even that can be forgotten when he’s dominating the way he has been.
  • The rest of the forwards dominated, too. J.T. Miller, Kevin Hayes, Jimmy Vesey, Mats Zuccarello all played spectacular games. Actually, aside from Josh Jooris (who only played seven minutes of even strength and sported a 42% corsi) not a single Rangers player was below 50%. And even Jooris’ corsi is somewhat deflated by his lack of time on ice (his shot differential was a tiny -2).
  • Like I said when the Rangers lost to the Blues: If the team keeps playing like that they’re going to win far more games than they lose. Last year the Rangers went 16-3-2 on the back of horrific possession metrics, incredibly inflated shooting percentages and a sky high Henrik Lundqvist save percentage. This go around it’s almost the exact opposite, and that’s a good thing.
  • Here’s what the Rangers can work on: The power play is sloppy. On the 5-on-3 the Rangers didn’t do enough to set up their off-wing forwards (Zibanejad and Brandon Pirri) for shots. When they did, Pirri did the unforgivable “miss the net and clear the zone” and Zibanejad had one of those as well. In the preseason the Rangers were fluidly moving the puck to those wings where they were ready to shoot. So far this season they’re rushing those attempts and not allowing things to develop naturally. It’s almost like they’re far more stiff.
  • The penalty kill was fine except for the one shot that beat them. It was a perfect set play -- the Rangers could have been tougher in the slot, but whatever — and the Rangers lack of a power play ended up costing them. So be it. It happens.
  • The Rangers have played really well. They could easily be 4-0 rather than 2-2. That’s a far cry from last year when they could have been 3-16-2.