Rangers 2, Jets 1
Today’s review is graciously provided by regular Bonehead Stranger Nation (SN for short). Great job, SN!
Coming into this game, there were more questions than answers as the injury bug has ripped through this team like a bad virus. A much different team suiting up now as the offense has dried up with opponents crowding the neutral zone and forcing the D to make plays under pressure. This game seemed to call for a more dedicated defensive mind-set with the Jets playing better and NYR featuring a depleted team. We also get to watch Trouba to see if he is/was a viable option to be McD’s partner for the next 5 years. (Spoiler Alert: not really)
Auntie Raanta is starting between the pipes as Henk gets to rest and think about never playing the puck away from the crease again. NYR Bottom 6 features off-season pick-ups and Hartford call-ups. Yikes! Nice to see Jay Tea back with Hazy Daze and Grabber after playing with Pirri and Fast last game or 2. #10 is an absolute gamer.
First period: Starts with a lot of pace featuring two posts by Jets and multiple NYR odd man rushes. Afterwards, your boys in blue (white) seemed to control play.
A PP opportunity features skates moving, quick passes, and a slam-dunk on the crease by THE after a beauty of a feed by Step. Shots for the period were counted at NYR 10- Jets 6; but it seemed NYR had more quality chances, the two early posts by the Jets notwithstanding.
Second Period: Jets came out strong with Big Daddy hitting a cross bar and continued to control play with extended zone time but mostly kept outside until Holden breaks stick and puck cannot leave zone. The D unit is peg legged at the tail end of a long shift and before you can learn how to spell Scheifele, the biscuit is in the basket, with the game tied at 1-1. The ice was definitely tilted in the Jets favor most of the period. Solid NYR PK kept the game tied due to a mix of Jets PP ineptitude and smart play by Blueshirts’ PK units to limit any dangerous chances. If someone told me before the game the score would be 1-1 after the second, I would have taken my chances from there.
Third was another ‘special’ period as the PP and PK units did their job. Late NYR PP from a high stick against Girardi acting like he was shot from the Grassy Knoll. Pay back for the Best Supporting Actor Emmy given to Tanev on a high sticking call against Grabber earlier. Hazy Daze gets the game winner on a deflected McD wrister and the team holds on for the win after the inevitable ‘Chinese Fire Place’ Dzone play leading up to the final horn.
· Solid play by the bottom six especially the 3rd line featuring two Swedes and a Slovak; Oscar looks to be getting his sea legs back. That line had some extended Ozone cycle time when the team really needed it.
· NYR passing in neutral zone was much better as Jets allowed them to move puck with their D quickly vacating the zone for reasons unknown. Regardless the passes were quick and allowed the play to move quickly up ice.
· Both lines of the Top 6 played well with Grabber, in particular, making great plays with both his speed and his head. He always seems to be in the right spot. Kreider should watch him play in neutral zone; his skates always moving, playing the angles; he is very impressive away from the puck.
· 4th line didn’t get a lot of TOI, though Jensen was on PP second unit. The Great Dane played the body and made simple plays in all three zones. He seemed to get more comfortable as the game progressed. Juris Prudence was aggressive with 2 monster hits on one shift getting Salmon Joe and Wicky very excited but also had an undisciplined tripping penalty. Pirri is looking for his missing glass slipper though he managed to get two shots on a PP. Just don’t see him in the line-up when at full complement.
· Thought the D had one of their better games against a team loaded with some high-end forward talent. They (mostly) made smart plays with puck, stayed on their skates, and didn’t allow many odd man rushes after the beginning of the first.
· All was not perfect as Holden is always good for a couple of passes to an opponent in the slot and Girardi treats the puck like a hot potato when pressured but DG also had some very good outlet passes when given time and space.
· Staal and Klein had ‘quiet’ games, which is a good thing. McD was McD; steady and strong. Shea almost had his first goal, hard to believe he hasn’t scored yet.
· Don’t think this D is the top 6 in league as some surmise, but I do know the Jets are definitely not in the top 15.
· Salmon Joe said NYR was tops in blocked shots; learn something every day.
· Auntie was very calm in net; presuming not having long flowing hair allows him to concentrate harder.
Special teams were the main reason for the win, scoring two PP goals and killing all three penalties. This was a very, very solid road win with a big game tomorrow night in the Windy City (don’t tell Olga.) This Ranger team doesn’t like to lose two in a row and Haze mentioned in post-game interview they realize how bunched up the conference/division is leaving little room for any let down. This game was an important ‘stepping stone’ for young core players like Kreider, Haze and Jay Tea who all looked like 1st line forwards when the team needed them most.
To note, according to esteemed hockey philosopher and fashion maven Ron Duguay it doesn’t matter if a team is missing five forwards, they just cannot afford to lose a Defensemen or Goalie. Right…
SN’s Three Rangers Stars: