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Rangers vs. Avalanche: Best game of the year?

Colorado Avalanche v New York Rangers Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images
  • You’re probably not going to want to hear it, but that might have been — given the opponent — one of the best games the Rangers played all season. Yes they dropped a point in the shootout, and yes they squandered an overtime power play, but the Rangers played really well and probably deserved better.
  • Tip your hat to Alexander Georgiev who had one of the games of his life. The question was never whether or not he was good, it was just the fact that he’s not better than Igor Shesterkin. I do think the Rangers bailed Georgiev out a few times last night, and Chris Kreider’s struggles around the net continue to kill this offense, but he played great and deserved the win. He had a lot of those games for the Rangers over his career in New York. He had a lot of other types of games, too.
  • I said this last night: The Rangers’ record the past three or four games really is not indicative to how well they’ve played.
  • The trick now is going to be ensuring the organization/coaching staff doesn’t make panic moves because the wins aren’t piling up. Playing Libor Hajek again was one of those avoidable things.
  • The Panarin-Trocheck-Lafreniere line was the Rangers’ best of the night, and they’ve been carrying play well beyond Panarin. Trocheck is a perfect fit there, and I truly believe we’re thisclose to seeing Lafreniere explode. He’s making all the right plays, doing all the right things, the puck just isn’t going into the back of the net. It happens.
  • The Kreider-Zibanejad-Kakko line, on the other hand, had its share of struggles all night. And really most of that falls on the shoulders of Kreider. I know he’s an easy target right now — especially with the much inflated expectations thanks to last year’s performance — but he’s a major part of this offense and his inability to find those tips in front and his frustrations are hurting the team. It’s a small example, but with 30-seconds left in overtime, pressured along the half-boards, Kreider elected to try and throw the puck deep where Zibanejad was out-numbered 2-on-1 rather than tossing it to Fox at the point and keeping the possession alive. Colorado easily cleared and it killed the rest of OT. Things like that can’t happen in a game that close if you want to win. They especially can’t happen from a veteran leader who knows better.
  • I have a feeling once he gets a goal they’ll come again, but we all knew the 50-goal mark wasn’t happening again. I’m not bagging Kreider, he’s never been that guy, and while last year was magical it was more than likely the best year he’ll ever have. Which is fine. Kreider so so many other things really well that makes his value to the team more than just goals, but when none of it is clicking and the scoring isn’t there it adds up.
  • There are times I am still in awe of how gifted K’Andre Miller is. That second-period sequence where he head-faked and deked his way to a brilliant scoring chance, then backchecked all the way back to break up a 3-on-1 with ease was magical.
  • I would keep Jimmy Vesey in the lineup until he’s given me a reason to say otherwise. If the Rangers need to sit someone when Chytil comes back it needs to be Reaves.
  • I thought that was a very good game from Kakko, who also looks like he’s getting way more comfortable with the puck and is doing some of that “silly” stuff Panarin always talks about. Kakko was a man on a mission a few times. He’s another guy that should start putting up the points soon.
  • Not the best of games from Jacob Trouba, that much is for sure. And he’s a lucky boy Goodrow finished that insanely-decided pass for the Rangers’ first goal.
  • If the Rangers keep playing like that the wins will come. I promise. The Rangers have had a really good start to the year despite their 3-2-2 record.