1st Star - Henrik Lundqvist
2nd Star - Cody Eakin (His hit seemed to wake Hank up)
3rd Star - Rick Nash (Welcome back to the lineup!)
Post Game Cocktail Recommendation
Gif of the Game
I'd be drinking through a straw for a month if I was ever hit like this.
The Lundqvist Incident
One of the greatest Ranger players of all time is freight trained and zero response from his teammates other than a token effort by Nash of all people.
I know there are fans who feel the best revenge is on the scoreboard. I get it. I really do. But not this time. Not when it's Henrik Lundqvist. The response to the decapitation of the face of the franchise needed to be immediate and it needed to be thorough.
Would retribution stop future predatory hits on Rangers players? Not even a little. Could having McIlrath or Glass in the lineup prevented the hit job on Lundqvist? Not a chance. Does that matter? Absolutely not. You defend your goaltender no matter what. Period. End of story.
If Lundqvist was bumped into at a nightclub I would expect swift action, let alone after taking a head shot in a game.
I have no idea if this has any impact in the locker room, but if I'm Lundqvist, after watching my so called brothers in battle literally turn their backs on me (watch the video again), I gotta wonder if I can count on these guys going forward.
The Not So Goalie Killer
The DeLury Reverse Mush Part II
For the 2nd time this season, my uncanny ability to reverse mush Rangers players was front and center. The first was Nick Holden. Tonight, it was Rick Nash:
BTW, how ridiculous was Nash's release on that goal.Unlike Rick Nash, I'll come thru in the clutch. https://t.co/wv1rw6s84Y— Kevin DeLury (@kevindelury) December 16, 2016
I joked on Twitter that Rangers fans should actually thank Eakins for the hit on Lundqvist as it seemed to jog his memory that he's an All World goaltender.
Here's the proof:
Here's the proof:
But there's probably a little bit of truth to that. The biggest reason for a goaltending slump is mental. Once you start thinking about stopping pucks instead of instinctively doing it you're in trouble. There's a good chance the Eakin "drive by" distracted Lundqvist from over-analyzing things allowing his natural talents to take over.
As for the rest of the team, I thought they continued their improved play of late. Sure, the second period was gettin, gettin, gettin kinda hectic...
...but the defense was in shutdown mode in the third period allowing just three shots on goal.
With Nash re-entering the lineup, AV obviously needed to make some adjustments to the lineup, but I wasn't a big fan of breaking up either the Miller-Hayes-Grabner or Hrivik-Lindberg-Fast lines. They've had too much chemistry recently and the new lines looked out of sorts offensively.
The Rangers also need to improve their shooting ability. While it's great they've been out possessing their opponents lately (actually, they were slightly below below 50% Corsi For last night), there's not enough pucks on net. Too many shots wide, shanked or passed up.
Jeff Gorton's commitment to improving the penalty kill in the offseason has paid off bigly. The units are dominate. Add in the fact that your super star forward is one of the most dangerous PKers in the league and you have a recipe for special teams success.
Even though it was an empty netter, it was good to see Zucc get on the board late. As always, he's the catalyst of the Rangers offense, so if he can get going again, the whole team benefits.