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Rangers Vs. Capitals: The Kids Are Alright

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Washington Capitals v New York Rangers Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
  • That game sort of had it all, didn’t it? A loss, some fight out of the team anyway, and two kids who are bright lights of the future doing really good things. There’s a feeling of hope now with Lias Andersson and Filip Chytil in the lineup — and with just eight games left in a lost year that’s something nice to look forward to.
  • Andersson scored his first NHL goal, on a beautiful feed by Jimmy Vesey. Chytil notched his first NHL point, after doing serious work along the boards and feeding Mats Zuccarello for the Rangers’ second goal. The offense would end there, but it’s fitting that the offense these Rangers did get came from them. You could see how excited the two of them were, and through this entire year they’ve been social media friends that I’ve sort of followed along from the distance.
  • I mean, could part of them being the only source of offense be because Alain Vigneault decided the Rangers fourth line should be Pavel Buchnevich - Vladislav Namestnikov and ... Cody McLoed? I could write a 17,000-word article on why this is a bad decision, why Buchnevich seems to be at the heart of these bad decisions, and why people will still defend AV until their hair falls out. Instead, I will leave you with this: Playing your third leading scorer with McLoed is incredibly stupid.
  • Speaking of McLoed, he got 7:29 of ice time last night. Andersson got 10:44, Chytil, at least, got over 14 minutes. Apparently before the game Vigneault said he didn’t want to put too much on the kid’s plates, so they wouldn’t get any power play time. Not sure I understand the logic there at all, but, you know, maybe play them a little more? (Chytil did lead the forwards at evens, so that is at least something.)
  • As good as Andersson was (and it was a fine game from him), Chytil is intoxicating to watch. He was strong in the corners, made two or three jaw-dropping passes, was slamming his stick on the ice for a pass, nearly walked a Capitals defender for a goal that probably would have made me pass out, and was just damn good. When he has the puck on his stick, things happen. Good things. Great things. That he was actually given more than six minutes to get his legs under him (neither player looked amazing the first 20) helped. Who knew?
  • And back to that rub: AV is still coaching to win. He thinks McLoed being in the lineup makes a difference. He thinks that sitting Chytil/Andersson down the stretch makes a difference.
  • Alexandar Georgiev gets yanked after giving up three goals on six shots. Wow, it’s almost like any goalie wouldn’t do well here, eh? (That said, two were butter-soft.) That’s for those Hank-truthers who think he sucks, and that Georgiev is already better, and blah blah blah. I wonder what those people are saying today? Probably a lot of the stuff they attack when people defend Lundqvist.
  • That said, Ondrej Pavelec looked really good, and faced just as high quality of shots. I thought he was a really good backup for the Rangers this year, and if Georgiev wasn’t in the picture I’d probably think he would have been back.
  • That Hayes - Chytil - Zuccarello line was the Rangers’ best all night. Three guys who can move the puck and they showed off their offense for most of the game. I’m hoping they all stay together.
  • Welp, that’s enough from this guy. Here’s to Wednesday’s second end of this home-and-home.