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Rangers vs. Kings: A Night of “Ricks”

Rangers win 4-2 with Henrik (Lundqvist), Rick (Nash) and (Marian) Gaborik each making an impact.

Los Angeles Kings v New York Rangers Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
  • After two horrendous games in a row, the New York Rangers desperately needed a victory. They picked one up against a Los Angeles Kings team that sits fourth overall in the NHL standings with 43 points and the league’s 2nd best goal differential at +23.
  • The Rangers power play has struggled without Mika Zibanejad; heading into the evening, the man-advantage unit was 2/19 without the Swedish sensation. Ultimately, the Rangers broke on through to the other side after a Kevin Shattenkirk point shot deflected off the leg of Chris Kreider, it was the only power play goal for New York in the game.
Shayna Goldman | @hayyyshayyy
  • The Blueshirts failed to score on the other two PP chances they received, so the updated stat line is 3/22 without Zibanejad.
  • Zibanejad will not play on Saturday vs. the Boston Bruins, and the team is rightfully taking it slow as he works his way back from a concussion.
  • I wrote about Kevin Hayes the other day and how he was having a better season than most people would give him credit for, and then against the Ottawa Senators he opted not to shoot on a breakaway. Way to go Kev. Way to make me look like an idiot.
  • However, Hayes redeemed himself scoring a beautiful goal that was setup by Ryan McDonagh. The play was only possible because McDonagh willing allowed himself to get sandwiched by two Kings before flipping a pass to Hayes.
Shayna Goldman | @hayyyshayyy
  • Marian Gaborik is one of the more talented Rangers of the post lockout era; Friday was his 1,000th career game, and he was one of the Kings’ best forwards. The past few years have been challenging for Gaborik as he’s battled injuries, but against the Rangers he picked up a goal and primary assist.
  • Both situations Gaborik was involved in featured a less than optimal play by Kevin Shattenkirk, although the first was a situation in which he was headed to the bench and retreated back after the puck was turned over. This ultimately gave Gaborik the space he needed to wrist one pass Lundqvist.
Shayna Goldman | @hayyyshayyy
  • He got caught puck watching on the second goal, and fortunately it didn’t end up costing the Rangers. Hank wasn’t too happy, as seen in this GIF.
Shayna Goldman | @hayyyshayyy
  • This season, Rick Nash has had a knack for doing everything humanly possible on a scoring chance without getting the puck into the net. In fact, it reminds me of this scene from Uncle Buck.
  • On this night however, Nash found the back of the net and boy was it sweet. Nash made a defensive play at center ice and took the puck up the ice, he put it short side past Jonathan Quick for what would become the game-winning goal.
Shayna Goldman | @hayyyshayyy
  • It was nice to see Nash get rewarded for his efforts, especially when you consider all the flack he gets for being incapable of scoring a “big” goal.
  • J.T. Miller added an empty net goal, apparently players not named Michael Grabner are also allowed to partake, and Mats Zuccarello picked up his 26th point of the season, while Jimmy Vesey picked up his fifth assist of the season.
  • Henrik Lundqvist had a very busy night stopping 33 of 35 shots. He stopped 10 of 10 in the first, 11 of 12 in the second and 12 of 13 in the third.
Shayna Goldman | @hayyyshayyy
  • This was the fourth time in Lundqvist’s last five starts in which he faced 30 or more shots with the lone exception coming on December 9th when he only faced 28 shots against the New Jersey Devils.
  • I will have more on this in a piece that will be out on Monday or Tuesday, but while it is good that the Rangers are winning games, they are likely to enter a situation in which their luck will run out. Right now the Rangers are riding a PDO wave winning games while getting out-shot and out-chanced with frequency.
  • They are keeping pace in a tight Metropolitan Division, but the team will need to make some major adjustments going forward, and maybe that will coincide with the eventual return of Zibanejad.
  • The Rangers play Boston this afternoon, so make sure to check Banter later on for your game thread, a recap after the game, and notes on Sunday.
  • Enjoy your time before the game!