Rangers Vs. Capitals: Well That Was Vesey
- I’m relatively positive the Rangers of last year wouldn’t have won that game. I don’t like making those generalizations because in truth we don’t know, but the Rangers’ ability to roll four lines made an enormous difference. The Rangers were neutral zone monsters, forced a four-to-one turnover ratio and until they shelled in the third were leading in possession.
- The Rangers’ speed and transition has all come from the offense, but it keeps working. Adam Clendening and Ryan McDonagh did some great work in terms of D to O transition, but they were the only two capable of doing that on the back end. Not the best recipe for success, especially when the entire system collapses without those puck movement lanes.
- There’s a lot of positives about that win, though. Jimmy Vesey was a monster, had two goals (one where he was in the right place at the right time, another that was just a disgusting move) and played a solid overall game (second among all forwards with a 60% corsi for).
- Josh Jooris was the forward leader with a 68% corsi. He had himself a hell of a game -- quietly — and even matching up against Alex Ovechkin and crew. There were a lot of things to like from him quietly, which isn’t a bad thing at all from a guy who was a throwaway idea (and will probably be sitting when Pavel Buchnevich gets back).
- Rick Nash was the Rangers’ best forward. He was a three-way monster, and this was one of those games where if he didn’t put up points people would scream about how he sucks. It’s ridiculous the amount of hate he gets. The first Vesey goal doesn’t happen without his net-front play, and his ability to bring the puck into the zone with possession is needed.
- Mika Zibanejad was good — he needs to start hitting the net, though — and earned an assist. This was the quietest game from Chris Kreider but I still thought he was alright (possession metrics didn’t favor him, though).
- Brandon Pirri played a really solid game, too. Scored a huge even strength goal that should help his confidence and had a nice night “away from the puck.” All good things from him.
- Mats Zuccarello and Derek Stepan played pretty good games, too. Both recorded an assist.
- The defensive usage worries me a little big. Ryan McDonagh (who was spectacular all night) played over 25 minutes, was the first power play QB for half the game and played almost a minute and a half on the penalty kill too. He can’t be relied on so heavily, especially when Clendening did such good work on the power play Saturday. Speaking of ...
- In crunch time Alain Vigneault ran with McDonagh and Nick Holden almost every other shift. Holden got 22 minutes again. He was a team-worst 35% corsi for, and wasn’t very effective at either end of the ice. Him playing that much means he’s most likely not sitting when Dan Girardi comes back, which means Clendening is. That’s a problem.
- Marc Staal got absolutely victimized on Ovechkin’s goal. Other than that, he was solid. Staal has actually shown the improvements (we’re not talking back to three years ago, but still) the Rangers were hoping to see from him and Girardi. He played well. It’s a good thing.
- I thought Kevin Klein had a good game, too.
- Games like that get overlooked by the Crab People when it comes to blaming Henrik Lundqvist for everything. He was enormous.
- The Rangers are still shelling with the lead in the third. That’s ... not good. The Rangers’ forwards are much better equipped for the shell because of their speed and talent, but it’s still not a good thing.
- That’s a big win for both the team’s confidence — especially considering their two losses — and because the team actually deserved it. The Rangers play again tonight against Arizona so it’s a quick turnaround. /