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Rangers Vs. Canadiens: That One Is All Hank

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Colorado Avalanche v New York Rangers Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
  • You had to know something crazy was coming in terms of the lineup. Anytime Alain Vigneault admits to the media he’s “mulling something over” you know it’s going to be a special bend of crazy that we won’t figure out until the last minute. Sunday night was no different. Filip Chytil sat in the press box because reasons. Anthony DeAngelo dressed — but as the 7th defenseman and played just 3:45 (not a single shift in the third) despite showing how good his vision is.
  • The Rangers won the game, but it wasn’t the best of efforts. Montreal had two goals disallowed (rightfully so), but dominated in shot differential (68% to 31%); 56 shot attempts to the Rangers 26 in terms of raw numbers. So the media heralds Vigneault’s changes as a success, even though this game was all about one man and one man only, and that was Henrik Lundqvist.
  • You can’t mention the shot attempts without talking about expected goals. That was a far different story, shockingly, with Montreal only edging the Rangers 1.97 to 1.46. That should tell you that the defense was porous, but the Rangers offense was somewhat able to hang with them. I mean, this is ugly.
  • So, yeah, Henrik Lundqvist doesn’t suck, and all of you who continue to keep denying him his greatness are fools.
  • Also, since they were being somewhat praised. Nick Holden was a 16% corsi (-17 shot differential) and Steven Kampfer was a 23% (-14 shot differential). They were the clear weak link, but that didn’t stop either of them from getting basically second-pair minutes/roles. Glad to see we can trust them.
  • It’s amazing — and almost incomprehensible — how good the Rangers power play is. It’s insane. Kevin Shattenkirk makes that much of a difference. Him and Pavel Buchnevich move the puck so fluidly on the power play that they really should never not be on the same unit. And the entire team has been able to keep other teams hemmed in their own zone for the full two minutes -- which was on display Sunday night. The Rangers didn’t score, but the man advantages they did have were dominant. Including, by the way, DeAngelo making three stretch passes that all nearly went for goals. But, you know, don’t want him playing too much.
  • Mika Zibanejad continues his scorching-hot start to the year. His goal is a smart one (he knew he had Carey Price looking the other way and just slipped it into the near post) but that goal is all Buchnevich. He worked the puck through the zone, went in deep to cause the turnover, took the pass from Chris Kreider, absorbed a hit, and still got a perfect pass out to Zibanejad. Beautiful all around.
  • I thought that was one of Kevin Hayes more active games. The numbers don’t support it much (although they don’t support any Rangers forward much), but eye test I thought he was pretty good.
  • Vigneault, thankfully, broke up with Hayes - J.T. Miller - Michael Grabner line, and what somewhat rewarded. Without Chytil in the lineup (and one less forward) there was more shifting to go around between the lines, so we’ll see how this shakes out.
  • That was a big win for the Rangers, and you could argue they deserved to win the Colorado game so it’s retribution. But the Rangers coaching staff needs to be smarter here about the way they put together these lineups -- but I’ve been saying that for three years so ...
  • I have longer thoughts on Chytil, but I’ll give you a few simple ones here:

Narrator: He didn’t do the right thing.