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Rangers Vs. Sabres: Make It Three, Boys

NHL: Buffalo Sabres at New York Rangers Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports
  • So David Quinn gets his first real winning streak of the season, with the Rangers pushing their current go to three games — this time featuring a regulation win! The Rangers were not the better team in this one, but they had the better goalie, and were more opportunistic on offense. It happens. Lord knows they’ve lost a few games while being the better team before.
  • The real hero was Henrik Lundqvist, who had 39 saves and saw his third game of 40 or more shots this year. Lundqvist was transcendent in this one, making saves through screens that should be impossible, shutting down the Sabres when they were rolling in power plays, and a few old days split stops late in the third that boggled the mind. He was, well, Henrik Lundqvist.
  • Apparently MSG has seen all the Pavel Buchnevich talk as he was one of their players to watch and Sam and Joe highlighted him all night. I thought that was easily one of his best games of the year, from possession down to offense creation. He and Chris Kreider led the team in possession and worked well with Kevin Hayes between them. I’d bet that group stays together for a few more games.
  • Uh, where has that Vladislav Namestnikov been? He was flying out there, and seemed to mesh really well with Mika Zibanejad. Yes, there was the whole “celebrate instead of tapping the puck over the line” incident with the Zibanejad bar-down that didn’t go in, but things like that happen. I’m not sure he’s destined to stay on the top line, but I think we can sometimes overlook how good of a hockey player he can be.
  • I covered enough of my thoughts about how Filip Chytil is being utilized under David Quinn so far here. I don’t want to re-open the argument again so I will just say that Chytil not even getting 10 minutes in a game where you’re without Brett Howden for half the game and you’re sitting Cody McLeod late is ... bad. Chytil, again, had a very good game and somehow still hasn’t scored yet. It will come.
  • Neal Pionk got his first goal of the year, a ripper from the circle to open the scoring. It was a pretty even night for him on the possession side (which at this point is good), and he played a solid game top to bottom.
  • Tony DeAngelo played a really good game in my opinion, and actually got three more minutes of ice time than Pionk did. DeAngelo just moves the puck really well, and he’s potent with those spring passes from his own zone. He actually got more penalty kill time than power play time last night, which I think says something. Adam McQuaid has been downgraded to week-to-week but at this point if you can’t see the extra stuff DeAngelo is bringing to the table I’m not sure what to tell you.
  • For the record: I LOVE the Skjei - DeAngelo pairing.
  • Brett Howden had an outstanding assist and work to create the assist on Jimmy Vesey’s first goal. That gave Howden nine points in his 14 games on Broadway, a stunning stat to this point for a guy who was penciled into the fourth line when things started. He went into the boards hard and missed the second half of the game. although it should be noted the Rangers kept him out for “precautionary reasons” which is about as good of news as you could have hoped for after seeing the incident.
  • Vesey scored an absolute snipe for his first goal of the game, then rifled a 190-footer for the empty net to seal it. That gives Vesey a 5-1-6 line through 14 games so far. Like I’ve said a thousand times, he needs to keep putting up offense if he’s going to stick with heavy PP time and a top-nine role. He did that Sunday night.
  • If you’re into the whole tank idea, it’s been a bad week of hockey for the Rangers. If you’re into that.