- The Chicago Blackhawks defeated the New York Rangers 5-2 with 32-year-old rookie goaltender Jeff Glass stopping 23 of 25 shots in his third career NHL start. The Rangers’ performance was pitiful against a skidding Blackhawks team that was 1-2-2 in their last five games played and entered the evening in last place in the Central Division.
- Part of the struggles can be attributed to the absence of top players Artem Anisimov and Corey Crawford, but the overall talent on the roster is drastically lower than it has been in recent years. No games are a guaranteed win, but this was a game on paper that the Rangers should have won.
- I mentioned that Glass faced 25 shots. Nine of those shots came on the power play. He stopped all of them except for Mika Zibanejad’s blast off a beautiful pass by Pavel Buchnevich on a 5-on-3 situation.
- Ironically the situation was created when Glass put the puck into the stands while the Blackhawks were already shorthanded. The remaining 16 shots were all at even strength, 13 of which were 5v5. In terms of scoring chances, the Rangers got taken to the cleaners.
- The Blackhawks’ netminder spent 47:20 of the game at even strength and he should have faced a lot more rubber than he did, because he’s a 32-year-old rookie.
- Glass has been an AHL lifer with 175 games on his resume and a record of 61-82-4 with a 3.21 goals-against average and a .904 save percentage. The fact that the 89th overall pick of the 2004 draft is making his NHL debut at age 32 is quite a feel good story, but there’s a reason why it has taken him so long to get here. He had an easy night and the Rangers can’t afford to give the opposition easy nights.
- Sans the 5-on-3 goal by Zibanejad, the power play went 0-for-5. Earlier in the year, the Rangers’ proficiency in this area masked a lot of warts, but the same can’t be said right now. The other goal was scored by Nick Holden in the first period; it was a nice shot setup by a stellar shift by the Rangers’ fourth line.
- When you take away the two empty net goals by Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane the real score reads 3-2, and it was another strong game by Henrik Lundqvist.
- Vinnie Hinostroza was all alone and uncovered at the top of the crease when he scored his second goal of the season and Chicago’s first of the game.
- The second goal against scored by Nick Schmaltz was a bit controversial. Schmaltz drove hard to the net and Lundqvist made a save. While the puck was lying in the crease, Ryan Hartman cross checked Marc Staal in the back and momentum sent him into the loose puck which subsequently trickled into the net.
- The third goal against was just a beauty of a shot scored by Patrick Sharp. It was a goal scorer’s goal that was perfectly placed.
- You could argue that Sharp was given too much space by Marc Staal to get the shot off, but it was still a great shot.
- Outside of a rocky October, Lundqvist has been playing at a Vezina-like level, and the numbers speak for themselves.
- If you add in his stats against the Hawks, the new stat line would read 15-6-2 with a 2.32 goals-against average and a .930 save percentage which is still damn impressive for a 35-year-old netminder that’s supposedly washed up. Plus,he’s earned a plus-8.07 goals saved above average at 5-on-5 that ranks sixth among goaltenders with 200 minutes of ice time during the season to date. (via Corsica.hockey)
- These numbers once again highlight how important he is to the team and how his elite performance is making the team as a whole looker better than the sum of its parts.
- Alain Vigneault broke one of his cardinal rules by tweaking the lines after a win.
#NYR lines:— Matt Calamia (@MattCalamia) January 2, 2018
Grabner - Hayes - Nash
Miller - Zibanejad- Zuccarello
Vesey - Desharnais - Buchnevich
Carey - Nieves - Fast
- It will be interesting to see if adjustments are made following this loss to Chicago. It would make sense to reunite Buchnevich with Zibanejad, because he’s being thoroughly wasted on the third line with Jimmy Vesey and David Desharnais.
- The Rangers are off until Saturday and will face Derek Stepan and the Arizona Coyotes at 8:00 PM Eastern time. The day after they head to the Las Vegas for a 9:30 PM Eastern time tilt against the Golden Knights before entering a bye week.