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Rangers Vs. Blue Jackets: Make It Five (It’s Actually Six)

NHL: New York Rangers at Columbus Blue Jackets Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports
  • There’s just something about beating Columbus for me. I can’t really explain it. I don’t have a hate for the team, but I do think it stems from the whole Brandon Dubinsky acting like a vengeful ex after he got traded. I get it, he has the right to be annoyed since he didn’t ask to leave, but I never said I was rational.
  • The Rangers sure have strung together a few quality wins on this five-game (six-game, actually) winning streak — although I’d argue the respective goalies have done a good amount of the heavy lifting at times. Antti Raanta did his best Henrik Lundqvist impression last night, and aside from the soft opening goal, he was big when the Rangers needed him to be.
  • The Rangers do seem to be a “collect our opportunities as they come” team on offense, and I’m not totally against it. I’d love for their overall possession numbers to be better, but the team is built on high-octane rushes that either end up in the back of the net or coming back the other way. You live and die by that sword, but right now the Rangers are living so take it while you can.
  • Part of the reason the Rangers are seeing this explosion of opportunity comes from J.T. Miller, Kevin Hayes and Michael Grabner. grabner had one of his more quiet games Monday night, so we can leave him here. As for the other two ...
  • Lazy Hayes had a goal and an assist, recording his 42nd point on the year. He’s on pace for 68 points and scored his goal on a perfect neutral zone takeaway and a brilliant breakaway goal. I refuse to believe Hayes slumped last year — and the advanced stats would agree with me — but he’s taken it to another level this year.
  • I’m working on a breakaway theory: Either pick the high corner or make sure the puck never leaves the ice. Hayes made sure the puck stayed on the ice, and slid it right between Bob’s legs (phrasing) for the goal. *kisses fingertips*
  • Miller as well. Miller’s assist gives him 46 points (67-point pace) on the year. Think the Rangers are regretting that bridge deal? They will next summer, more than likely, but they had few options them they didn’t make the proper cap calls this past summer.
  • Dan Girardi shothanded goal machine? Maybe not, and give Hayes credit for working the puck the way he did, but Girardi actually shoots and sometimes when you shoot it goes off a defender and finds its way into the back of the net. More of that, please.
  • Girardi giveth and Girardi taketh. I’m sorry, but anyone removing him from any blame on the opening goal is kidding themselves. Girardi often follows the puck behind the net, and while he was “covering” Brandon Saad (I’m using the term very loosely there) he either needs to hunker down in front or stop that centering feed. He did neither, and it’s a goal. You can’t score behind the net. Don’t follow the puck behind the net unless you have support. And on a penalty kill, you should find yourself behind the net quite rarely indeed.
  • Since I’m complaining, I hate the way AV is using Pavel Buchnevich. He started in the top-six, took a delay of game penalty and then was punished by AV (taking five shifts over the course of the second and midway through the third). People kept asking me who Vigneault should take minutes away from to play him. I dunno, maybe stop double shifting Grabner and play Buchnevich? Just a thought.
  • The Jimmy Vesey button pushing finally paid off though. Vesey sniped the short-side corner for the game-winner in the third. Beautiful goal, and one he sorely needed. Here’s to more of that.
  • Thoughts?