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Rangers Vs. Canadiens: Streak Extenders

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NHL: Montreal Canadiens at New York Rangers Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
  • We’ve seen a lot of things with this new group under David Quinn, some of it good and some of it bad. Quinn has gotten the group to buy in to his system and ideologies, that much isn’t debatable really from any angle at least. I do think the Rangers’ grit and toughness helped the Habs get in their head all night, which almost tipped the scales of the game. I also think the Rangers have this “never say die” attitude we really haven’t seen since the John Tortorella years. That’s been nice, and helped swing four straight goals.
  • I know wins aren’t really what this group needs, and through November the team being 7-7-1 sort of leaves them in the “dreaded middle” of not being good enough to make the playoffs but not being a lottery pick team, either. The good news is the selloff is coming, maybe sooner than we thought, and that should clean up that mess. For now, though, you should be enjoying these wins as they build toward something.
  • The standouts occurred on defense, with Neal Pionk scoring maybe the goal of his life (probably the goal of his life?), and Tony DeAngelo dominating both ends of the ice and scoring a goal of his own. I don’t think DeAngelo would be in the lineup right now if Adam McQuaid didn’t get hurt, and while that’s a different problem, DeAngelo is proving that he should be in the lineup every night no questions asked. And unlike Pionk, his underlying numbers remain very good. Pionk continues to bleed shots and chances against, and the hope is that Quinn finds a way to work those out of his game, but so long as he’s putting up offense it’s all a moot point.
  • Jimmy Vesey continues to find the scoresheet, putting up an assist, and having another active game. As I’ve said, he needs to do that in order to “earn” this role he’s been given, and of late he’s doing that. Good for him. Good for the Rangers.
  • Pavel Buchnevich scored the game-tying goal, led the Rangers’ forwards in expected goals for at evens, and had a second fantastic game post-scratch. I’d hope that Quinn has seen enough from Buchnevich to realize he sort of needs to let him spread his wings and do things his way, but we’ll see. That said, he has two goals in his past four games.
  • I was very interested to see how Quinn juggled Lias Andersson and Filip Chytil. Chytil, I though, had a very good game and even got some much needed power play time. Andersson was fine, but had some early jitters — taking two penalties and playing a shaky first before a stronger final 40 minutes. Chytil finished with 11:18 while Andersson has just over 12 minutes. That’s fine for now, but there’s really no reason why the Rangers can’t run both of them and just throw Cody McLeod out of the lineup and roll four actual lines. I’m sure some trades are going to alleviate some of this pressure, but both of them can be here and thrive together.
  • Kevin Hayes had himself a night, finishing with three assists and another very solid showing. Hayes now has a goal and four assist in his past four games, and now eight points in 15 games. I have a very funny feeling Hayes could be gone by Christmas (my speculation), and these explosions of offense might go a long way to maximizing his trade value.
  • Chris Kreider scored his seventh of the year, Mika Zibanejad had a goal and an assist to bump his season total up to 13 points. Both were very good, I thought.
  • What the Rangers do need to learn is a little self control. Chytil takes a hard hit, McLeod decides in a 3-1 game it’s time to rally the troops, takes six minutes worth of penalties (two minutes of it was cancelled out) and a 10-minute misconduct. While I don’t mind him being off the ice 16 minutes, the double-minor could have, and probably would have, been the turning point in the game if the Habs had managed to score. Today the results don’t matter, so whatever, but in the playoffs, or a must win game, that’s an insane outcome for a hard hit. I know that’s why he’s here, and Quinn wants him to do that stuff, but he has to be smarter if he’s going to play. Quinn needs to be smarter about putting him out there, too.
  • I thought that wasn’t the worst game we’ve seen from Marc Staal.
  • Thoughts?