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Rangers Vs. Lightning: Struck Down

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NHL: New York Rangers at Tampa Bay Lightning Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
  • Well, I’d say the Rangers have officially come back down to earth after that massive 9-1-1 spot they put up a few weeks ago. Not that Tampa Bay — one of the league’s elite — should be a measuring stick for this group, but the Rangers really didn’t stand a chance from the get-go. Tampa thoroughly dominated this one, as expected.
  • This should squash the “NYR can go to the playoffs and surprise people” stuff that had been popping up. Mike and I talked about this on the podcast a few weeks ago, but the Rangers need to be sellers this year, regardless of how weak the Metro might be, and regardless of how good the team has looked in spurts so far. Being in the dreaded middle can’t be acceptable, especially with Tampa showing just how important having elite talent is.
  • At even strength the Rangers had a 34% share of the expected goals. which is higher than I expected from watching the game. Over the past few weeks or so, a lot has been made of just how weak the Rangers’ starting six has been. And now with Kevin Shattenkirk potentially out long term, it’s only going to get worse.
  • The good news? Fredrick Claesson is still showing why he should be kept around for a while, and Tony DeAngelo was the team’s best defenseman last night. Those two continue to be consistent bright spots for the team.
  • Filip Chytil might have been the team’s best forward not named Kevin, and finished the game with a beautiful assist. The way he was skating, he could have had three of them, but he was a monster all night. I’d love to show you a replay of his assist on the Fast goal, but MSG/the Rangers have shut down all GIF operations, and they don’t seem to care about promoting their own team through social media in real time so I don’t have much for you there.
  • Kevin Hayes is skyrocketing his trade value. Two goals Monday night, after two assists the game before. Hayes now has 21 points in 30 games, but he’s been a force in all three zones for weeks now. He’s the type of player that can truly be the “missing piece” for a contender, and the Rangers need to realize that they can legitimately get a bidding war going for his services if they so desire. I’ve seen a lot of people lament the idea of trading Hayes and thinking the team should move on from Mika Zibanejad instead, but Zibanejad’s contract is outstanding and it will be much better than the monster contract Hayes is about to get.
  • I’ve already seen the typical low-hanging-fruit attacks against Henrik Lundqvist. Of the six goals there were probably two that I’d say he wanted back, specifically Ryan McDonagh’s, but the defense was a disaster from the start of things.
  • That was one of the more undisciplined games I’ve seen from the Rangers all year. They took six penalties, including an extended 5-on-3, and somehow only allowed goals on two of them. Against a team like Tampa however, that’s a death sentence more often than not.
  • Shattenkirk’s injury will open up some space for David Quinn to not have to sit a defenseman every night, but that will change once again when Adam McQuaid comes back. I wonder what type of trade value McQuaid will have come February. My bet? Little-to-none.
  • That was one of Brett Howden’s more engaged games in a while. After a hot start he has just two assists in his past 12 games. That said, he deserved more than he got against Tampa.
  • Thoughts?