- I said this right after the game, but that was as good of a defensive effort as we’ve seen from the Rangers this year. They held Ottawa to just 20 shots -- including their five-minute power play — and kept their big guns in check. It was an all-around effort, too, with only six players below a 50% scoring chances metric on the night. Plus, Henrik Lundqvist got his 63rd shutout.
- Not to say that he didn’t have to work for it, though. Most of the night, Lundqvist was nothing more that a fail-safe, but there were moments like this:
This is another one of those games from him that will probably be forgotten because the Rangers won by three, but he kept things where they were on the off occasion the Rangers did have breakdowns.
- Kevin Hayes opened the scoring with a fortunate bounce to get the puck on his stick, but there was nothing lucky about his goal. What. A. Rip. For all the talk we’ve done both in this space and on the podcast (which you should rate on iTunes, subscribe to, and listen to!) about Hayes not being a defensive-first forward, he’s, uh, sort of coming along there. He’s been one of the Rangers’ more noticeable penalty killers, and his offense forces teams to take him seriously when he does have the puck. If he pans out as this overall player Alain Vigneault seems to think he is, then bravo. Both to him, and to Vigneault for seeing it and sticking with it until it worked.
- Rick Nash and Hayes are also starting to garner a little chemistry with one another, too.
- That’s the quietest the KZB line has looked maybe all year. Not even bad, mind you, but quiet.
- The Rangers power play continues to look human. There wasn’t all that much going on for either unit, although the first looked far better than the second. On a night where Anthony DeAngelo got into fights on Twitter with fans about him being in Hartford, all I could think about was how much worse the PP2 unit looks without him. Not that I don’t love me some Ryan McDonagh, but he’s really not suited to be a power play quarterback and the main guy 5v5/PK. It’s too much. More importantly, his shots simply don’t get through to the net. Twice he threw the puck into the pads of the guy in front of him, and it led to a break the other way. Also ...
Shattenkirk: A shining example of what happens when point shots get through— Joe Fortunato (@JoeFortunatoBSB) November 20, 2017
McDonagh: A shining example of what happens when they do not
- Now, about that Brendan Smith hit ... First of all, it’s pretty clearly not malicious. It’s an unfortunate play, and dangerous, but hits like that happen five or ten times a game. The problem was that Mark Borowiecki was moving to hit him and it shifted his balance. Smith didn’t ride him into the boards, nor did he throw his weight behind him, they were simply jockeying for the puck. Interference? 100%. Smith got to him early. But if Borowiecki doesn’t hit the boards like that, it’s probably not even a penalty. It was scary, though, with the camera instinctively panned on Borowiecki while he was passed out on the ice. He has a concussion, so here’s to hoping he has a speedy recovery.