- Only in New York can a guy go from the AHL one day to the top line in the NHL less than 24 hours later. Already people attributed Pavel Buchnevich’s brilliant goal and confidence to his stint in the AHL. I think that takes a lot of credit away from the rookie. Him playing in the AHL for a single night (two goals and an assist) did nothing to produce what you saw Thursday night. Him actually playing in the top-six did. And remember this wouldn’t have even have happened if Grabner didn’t get hurt in practice.
- And I mean, this snipe? Holy crap.
Pavel Buchnevich pic.twitter.com/7K5suUZYtd— SI NHL (@SI_NHL) March 3, 2017
- To the overall game (sorry I had to get that Buchnevich stuff off my chest): I think that particular game is a pretty good view of the Rangers overall strengths and issues. The Rangers have brilliant offense (even if it’s lost some consistency) that can strike in quick, lethal bursts. They have a defense that is at least mobile (in its current state — we’ll see where that goes when everyone is healthy) but even so there’s weak links. And there’s God mode Henrik Lundqvist.
- What does that add up to? Well, we don’t really know. Last year the defense became enough of a tire fire that it sunk the entire ship. This year Brendan Smith (more on him later) and the growth of Brady Skjei adds two more legitimate defenseman to the line. However, Nick Holden, Kevin Klein, Marc Staal and Dan Girardi have all taken big strides backwards. With Adam Clendening more than likely finding himself in the press box every night once everyone is healthy, we don’t know what things will look like.
- With the trade deadline in the rear view mirror, we got a good look at what this team is going to look at (for the most part). Grabner being hurt complicates things (although at this point I think he replaced Brandon Pirri) but I think Oscar Lindberg is playing too well to come out of the lineup. Then I think Matt Puempel comes out when Jesper Fast comes back. At least I hope ...
- I’d love to know how the NH- “we care about safety for players, seriously why are you guys laughing? Wait this is serious. Come on guys” L can see this:
Here is the Pasternak slason Brendan Smith before the 0-2 goal. #nyr #nhl pic.twitter.com/es9rArDLwP— Matte Ohlsson (@mattiasohlsson7) March 3, 2017
- And not do anything about it, but here we are.
- Henrik Lundqvist is the real reason the Rangers earned any points last night. Despite a scintillating matchup that saw 20 total shots in the first 30 minutes, Lundqvist was called on early and often to make big saves. And he did! Lundqvist was brilliant on his birthday!
- Smith looked pretty good, but also looked out of place. There’s a lot of standing around that happens in the defensive zone and Smith looks like he might be an instant cure to that ailment. He’s a hell of a skater, can move with the puck and made a few exit/transition passes that made me nod in approval. Here’s to him staying on the top pair.
- The power play is going to have to find some level of consistency if the Rangers want to survive moving forward. Smith probably won’t be much help there. The one guy who can make a difference will likely be sitting when the cows come around the corner (pretend this means “when everyone is healthy”) I think Mika Zibanejad needs to park himself in that shooting office again and Rick Nash needs to park himself in front of the net. Right now there’s a lot of solid puck movement but not enough dirty shots.
- Toughness is something people have demanded. Some are upset the Rangers didn’t add a guy like Dwight King at the deadline. All King would have done is taken the spot from Buchnevich and then he wouldn’t have scored. Skill. Bet on skill.
- Speaking of kids. Look at this goal from Lindberg. Who knew he had this in his bad of tricks?
What a move for the #NYR game winner by Oscar Lindberg!!! pic.twitter.com/lWlUNeXfdV— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) March 3, 2017