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Rangers Vs. Canucks: Traaaaaaap Game

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NHL: Vancouver Canucks at New York Rangers Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
  • It’s a classic trap game. The Rangers are streaking red-hot having won five games in a row. The Canucks are about as cold as cold can be, loser of nine straight. It’s a trap, guys. We knew it was going to be a trap.
  • This was one of those games that I’ve been talking about, where the other team is clogging up the neutral zone and taking away those transition lanes. The Rangers didn’t have much of an answer, helplessly trying to break through the zone and getting stymied at every turn. These are the games where you need those puck moving defenseman who can give you extra gunner through the zone, and this is where the Rangers were exposed for not having enough of them. The offense couldn’t really get going without their speed game through the zone and that has been the linchpin of this team’s success. Without it, the offense looked pathetic, even though the Rangers controlled the possession.
  • First game in a long time the Rangers third line was quiet.
  • I totally get why the league wanted to take a second look at Antti Raanta. What I don’t get is why Henrik Lundqvist isn’t permitted to warm up. Let’s be honest, the Rangers didn’t deserve to win that game but how is that a good thing for anyone?
  • The power play looked pretty bad, outside of Pavel Buchnevich being a lone bright spot. Mika Zibanejad and Brandon Pirri had their moments, but both missed the net in key opportunities. The Rangers needed to take advantage there and didn’t.
  • The power play also cost the Rangers the game when they weren’t prepared for the jack in the box goal. With the penalty expiring Ryan McDonagh has to come back and cover the guy out of the box. Kevin Hayes has to be more careful with the puck there, too, but McDonagh has to be tracking out of the zone to cover the released player. Both did what they shouldn’t do, and all the air was out the building after that.
  • Congrats to Rick Nash — who was a beast -- for his 400th career goal.
  • Another really solid game from Jesper Fast. Not sure when we’re going to see Oscar Lindberg get into the lineup.
  • Brady Skjei kept his assist streak going.
  • Buchnevich’s goal — I told you when he scored the floodgates would open — was a product of hustle and being in the right place in the right time. His pass to Nash for his goal was so good it’s basically cheating. Then he assisted on Mika Zibanejad’s goal in garbage time. Three points for him, his first multi-point game and seven points in nine games.
  • Speaking of rookies:
  • That Zibanejad goal, by the way, might not matter much for the game but it will matter for him. Hopefully that gets him a little more puck luck.
  • Jimmy Vesey didn’t play a single third period shift. After the game Vigneault gave a cryptic answer about how he was looking for something. Like Adam Herman said: That’s like saying I’m looking for my phone but not searching two rooms on purpose. Vesey had a 69% corsi (nice) when he was sat. Why is he sitting? At least Chris Kreider -- who was also benched -- was sitting at a 43% corsi.
  • It’s unfair to pin that game on a single moment, because it’s really not Derek Stepan’s fault, but if he buries that third-period chance with the game tied at two the Rangers more than likely win the game. Instead Stepan rifled the puck over the open net.
  • Hopefully the Rangers bounce back from that or at least adjust. I’d love to see Adam Clendening get back in but we all know he’s not coming in for Dan Girardi and right now he’s the guy who deserves to come out. Well, him or Kevin Klein.