- The, uh, the Rangers are bad at this whole tanking thing. They’ve never openly said that was the goal, and I would be shocked if there were any conversations internally about losing intentionally, but it’s no secret that the Rangers are A) not making the playoffs this year, and B) a team that would benefit from losing as many games as possible the rest of the way this year.
- Carolina is no slouch, either. They’re red-hot (or, were red-hot) and are fighting for every scrap they can get so they can make the playoffs. As things stand now, Carolina is seven points behind the Devils for that final wild card spot. Could have been five last night, but the Rangers didn’t allow it.
- That’s a game the Rangers lose more often than not, too. The Rangers — in a throwback — were remarkably opportunistic, scoring on six of their 23 shots on goal (and on four of their 21 shots against a goalie). The Hurricanes had 44 shots on net, out-chanced the Rangers, and just couldn’t find the back of the net.
- Jimmy Vesey’s empty net goal gave him his first career hat trick, and his 15th goal of the year. In 69 games this year, Vesey has 22 points. I continue to advocate for trading him this summer, when his value on the market is going to be higher than his value to the hockey team, but we’ll burn that bridge when we get there. And as I tweeted last night about the people yelling at me about Vesey scoring the hat trick:
Good for Vesey to notch a hat trick. I’d waste energy telling people that not thinking he’s a top-six player doesn’t mean he sucks, but Buch had three assists tonight and I’m tired. So, yeah. By the way, Rangers, you’re tanking badly— Joe Fortunato (@JoeFortunatoBSB) March 13, 2018
- Both Pavel Buchnevich and Mika Zibanejad had three assists, Mats Zuccarello had two goals, and Ryan Spooner somehow added another assist. Vladislav Namestnikov scored his first goal at MSG, and Neal Pionk added an assist as well.
- Buchnevich’s three assists gives him 39 points on the year in 62 games. That’s an 82-game pace of 52 points, for a guy who has been jerked up and down a lot this year and spent a fair amount of time on the fourth line. So when you yell at me that “this is why Vesey plays more than Buchnevich” you have to understand why I have no idea what you’re talking about.
- Anthony DeAngelo went into the boards funny, couldn’t really skate after, and is getting an MRI on his ankle today. This would be a brutal injury for him if he missed any significant time (not to speculate, but he didn’t look like he could put any weight on the ankle) simply because he’s forced into the lineup due to injuries right now.
- Spooner’s assist gives him 38 points in 47 games now. That’s good for a 67-point pace. He’s another guy the Rangers should maybe thing about moving at the draft — if only because his value is going to be so high. That said, he’s talking me into keeping him around for a while.
- With the win, the Rangers have leaped over Chicago and are now the ninth-worst team in the NHL. They need a little bit of help to get back into the top five, or at least give themselves a chance to jump there with the lottery selection.