Rangers Vs. Red Wings: Miller Time

  • What an astoundingly boring hockey game. For a Sunday matinee on NBC against two teams that had at least provided some excitement the last couple of times they’ve played each other, that was brutal. Even so, the Rangers were pretty thoroughly dominated in shots, scoring chances and expected goals. Want to know who saved the day? Henrik Lundqvist, multiple times.
  • After the Rangers win over the Maple Leafs I made a comment that I thought games where Hank had done what he always does get ignored because we’ve come to expect it. Last night is a perfect example. Hank was pretty dominant (he’s still not tracking the puck as smoothly as we’ve seen in the past), made one or two jaw-dropping saves and was once again there on the multiple occasions the defense left him all alone. Like this: /
  • And so it was a common theme on the night. The Rangers top pairing both came in with shiny 24% possession numbers at 5v5 and had difficult nights. Adam Clendening and Brady Skjei made a second solid appearance and Nick Holden was solid. Kevin Klein was Kevin Klein (this is bad).
  • I’m 100% positive Clendening is going to sit when Marc Staal comes back, but it might not be the worst idea in the world to sit Klein up front and rotate Klein, Girardi and Clendening into the lineup. Some are claining he’s worse defensively (not possible) and that Girardi/Klein’s level of play against tougher competition (totally overwhelmed) couldn’t be matched by Clendening, but the offense/transition he brings to the table makes the defensive mistakes worth it. Because right now the other two are making those mistakes and they’re not bringing anything to the other side of the puck.
  • The Pavel Buchnevich - Mika Zibanejad - Rick Nash line is about as dominant a line as the Rangers have had. Throw Chris Kreider on the wing if you want, too, but the Buchnevich - Zibanejad connection would work well with anyone. The game snapped Buchnevich’s point-streak (he now has 14 points in 15 games) but the three of them were easily the Rangers’ best forwards.
  • Mats Zuccarello loves (and I mean loves) to pass where he should shoot. And I would complain about that, but then you get those moments in overtime where he does that pretty little fake shot the second before he throws the puck to J.T. Miller for the game winner.
  • A few people have complained about Zuccarello’s lack of goals. I cannot say this enough so I will bold it: assists come from goals. Assists come from goals. Assists come from goals. You can’t get an assist without a goal being scored. Assists come from goals. /
  • Kevin Hayes was seen walking with a brace and limping after the game. That’s, uh, concerning, since Hayes has been one of the Rangers more productive forwards this year. Miller managed to score without him, but a long-term Hayes injury would not be fun.
  • The Rangers play the Kings again tonight. Should be another fun matchup. /