Rangers Vs. Maple Leafs: Goalie Duel
- After that game I tweeted Henrik Lundqvist “stole one.” A lot of people pointed out the Rangers dominated the game to the tune of 68 even strength shot attempts to just 49. The Rangers dominated this game, but the offense couldn’t finish (some great goaltending on the other side, some bad luck), and thus, Lundqvist stole this one. He was brilliant in overtime, jaw dropping at times and otherworldly at others.
- I’m sure you’ll see the “Lundqvist has to play like this all the time” nonsense from the people who were down on him when Antti Raanta was starting four games in a row. Since 1/19 Lundqvist has played in 14 games. In those 14 games he’s had a .920 or above SV% in 10 of them (this excludes a .919 effort). In that span he’s also posted a 1.85 GAA. So, yeah, enough.
- This was one of Rick Nash’s better games, although he couldn’t find the back of the net if his life depended on it. I don’t understand where the “soft” stuff comes from when talking about Nash. He’s a tough guy, powered his way into the slot or the front of the net multiple times and just made stuff happen. A lot of what he does might go unnoticed on the back end, and the never ending “he sucks in the playoffs” crap certainly doesn’t help, either. But Nash is an animal, and this team would be far worse without him.
- For as good as Nash was, Derek Stepan was just as good, only bad. Stepan had one of the worst games I can ever remember him having. He missed the net often, in overtime he nearly caused two odd-man rushes with poor shot choices. Didn’t really stop him from getting the second most forward minutes on the team, but alas.
- Adam Clendening played due to a late-day injury to Kevin Klein. He’ll sit once Klein comes back because that’s how Alain Vigneault operates but I’ll just leave this here: /
Skjei-Clendening Season Update:— Adam Herman (@AdamZHerman) February 24, 2017
132 Attempts For 86 Against (60.6%)
43 Shots For 31 Against (57.8%)
4 Goals For 2 Against (66.6%)
- Brady Skjei (70% corsi) and Clendening (67%) led all defenseman in possession. Marc Staal (58%) and Nick Holden (54%) were next. Dan Girardi (48%) and Ryan McDonagh (46%) were last.
- Another guy who did a ton of good but couldn’t finish? Michael Grabner. Grabner is going to cool off — and we might be in the process of witnessing it now — but you can’t deny the impact he has, even when he’s not scoring. Speed kills, people. Speed kills.
- When J.T. Miller scored the game-tying goal the Rangers had been like a balloon filling with air waiting to pop. He EXPLODED when he scored and he never does that. Credit to the team and the coaching staff for not deviating from the plan, understanding that they dominated and continuing to hammer.
- Brandon Pirri — who replaced Pavel Buchnevich -- had an assist on the power play and was better than I thought he would be considering how long he’d been sitting. I still don’t love the idea of Vigneault toying with Buchnevich’s confidence — I’ll assume Buch is back in for Oscar Lindberg next go.
- Overtime was about as exciting as it could possibly be. What an outstanding back and forth series of events. Overtime (especially 3-on-3) ironically enough is more exciting the better the goaltenders. There’s always a feeling of dissatisfaction when overtime doesn’t end in sudden death, but that overtime could have ended 20 seconds in and no one would have remembered it for anything other than a quick death.
- Thoughts? /