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Rangers Vs. Avalanche: Overtime Heroes

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NHL: Colorado Avalanche at New York Rangers Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
  • The overtime kids got their second win of the year, this go around in the shootout. That said, it was easily one of the best games the Rangers have played so far under David Quinn, fully equipped with leads in possession and expected goals when all was said and done. The team played with some of that grit Quinn seems to value, didn’t do it at the expense of the actual hockey game, and did a pretty good job in their own end.
  • The goals thing is still an issue. Coming into the game the Rangers had scored less than two goals a game (again, removing the Carolina game) and this game wasn’t any different. With Pavel Buchnevich sitting another source of offense was out of the lineup and it showed. Sergei Varlamov was great, equaled only by Henrik Lundqvist, but the Rangers are still lacking that finish.
  • Quick note on Buchnevich: A bit more from Quinn came out on the decision, basically reaffirming that it was based on effort and not talent evaluation. Full quote below but I did find the “I think it’s just a process for every young player ... to change your definition of what hard work is.”
  • Before the game I made many mentions of how Kevin Hayes, Chris Kreider, and Jimmy Vesey all should have seen the press box before Buchnevich in terms of production. So what happened? Kreider scored on the power play and Hayes ripped one of the prettiest top-shelf snipes you’ll ever see. I mean, my word ...
  • Vesey continued his trend of “making a few things happen without any finish.” Missed on a breakaway then he missed on a glorious chance right next to the net (this one literally, he fanned on the shot). Is it a good thing he keeps getting these chances? Yes, 100%. Is he snakebitten? On a strange Rick Nash level it would appear. But if he’s going to remain a staple on the top-six and the power play, there needs to be some finish there.
  • Filip Chytil was the talk of the town leading into the game, as Quinn admitted he’s failed in giving him ice time and needed to do something about it. To fix that, he moved him up to the wing and fed him over 20 minutes. Chytil made the key play on the Hayes goal, had a shot on net, a 57% corsi, 62% SCF, and a 65% xGF. Keep feeding him those minutes, he’s good enough for it.
  • Ryan Spooner, who played just under 11 minutes, had a 78% corsi, 75% SCF, and 87% xGF. Don’t think I’ve seen a line like that in a long, long time.
  • Kevin Shattenkirk answered the call to action with two assists and the shootout winner. He got the Broadway Hat and played the best possession game of all defenseman. Good for him. Good for the Rangers.
  • I thought Tuesday was going to be an enormous test for Neal Pionk, paired with Brady Skjei and away from Marc Staal. Pionk had a few solid moments, including a great spring pass in the first, but the underlying numbers were just as bad as they have been with Staal. I can’t imagine Tony DeAngelo is going to sit out another game, and to be fair it was a one-game sample away from Staal, but Pionk needs to start showing the better side of his defensive game if he can, and soon.
  • I though Mats Zuccarello had a quiet game, and yet he had two assists. Part of the magic with that man is he’s just so quick at doing good things you might miss it.
  • Brett Howden had another solid game, and got over 17 minutes. One thing Howden needs to learn is that the timing of space closes much faster in the NHL than the WHL. Twice Howden was on a rush and had a lane to the net, only to turn his back with a quick cut along the boards to find space. That might work in the WHL, but both times Tuesday it led to him being boxed against the boards and losing possession. He needs to cut that puck toward the net and get a shot off, or just crash the crease. Little things like that will come with time, and he’s still playing excellent hockey, but something to keep an eye on.
  • Lundqvist, it shouldn’t have to be mentioned, was brilliant yet again. That blocker save he made late in the second (before the Avalanche tied the game) was something out of a fairy tale, and both goals that beat him were the result of screens or late deflections. He got lucky in overtime with two posts, but he played a fantastic game.
  • Fredrick Claesson got just 10:50 last night — not for poor play — but based on what I’ve seen from Quinn that means he’s probably the guy coming out for DeAngelo/Adam McQuaid for Washington. Hopefully the former.
  • Thoughts?