1st Star - Magnus Hellberg (Lundqvist is 4-1 with a 1.38 GAA, .952 SV% and 1 SO in the last five games with Hellberg as his backup)
2nd Star - That 3-on-3 overtime (I'm usually not a fan, but man that was fun tonight)
3rd Star - This tweet I sent out earlier today...
Apparently, AV saw his shadow this morning. I guess that means six more weeks of Girardi in the top defensive pair.— Kevin DeLury (@kevindelury) February 2, 2017
Post Game Cocktail Recommendation
With the game winner coming on a Kreider goal setup by fellow American Miller, I've got to go with the Americano.
Gif of the Game
Wait? You think you're going to try and start with Kreider? Oh Really? Right.
Lundqvist Feelin' It
The goaltending on both sides tonight was phenomenal considering the volume of scoring chances. What impressed me the most about Lundqvist's performance was his ability to anticipate pucks going across the "Royal Road" as Valiquette likes to call it.
And those were just two of a number of those cross crease saves he had to make throughout the night. When Lundqvist is that locked in, he's impossible to beat. The Columbus game is looking like an outlier at this point as tonight he continued his renaissance of the last two weeks.
Starting on Sunday against Calgary at MSG, the Rangers will play five games in nine days. I'd like to see Lundqvist get four of those five games. Now that "The King" has seemingly rediscovered himself, AV needs to ride dat horse.
In the first period, McDonagh took a crushing hit from Girgensons in the corner of his own end...
Well, the third period was payback time as McDonagh returned the favor on Girgensons in the same exact spot on the ice...
Night at the Roxbury
How about Zuccarello getting the full "Night at the Roxbury" treatment after making contact with Lehner after the whistle?...
Klein Does A Thing
Similar to Girardi, it's been a rough season for Klein, so I figured I needed to point out the rare occasion when he does something positive...
With the Rangers clinging to a 1-0 lead in the third period, this was a huge play at the time.
What. A. Game.
Both teams flying up and down the ice. Scoring chance after scoring chance. And the goaltending. Oh man was there goaltending.
Look, I could sit here and dissect every defensive deficiency tonight, but sometimes you just have to sit back and enjoy the game for what it is. And tonight it was entertaining as hell.
While I try not to rely on fancy stats too often on the blog, tonight the Fast (74% Corsi For) - Miller (83% CF) - Grabner (83% CF) line was a three headed possession monster at 5-on-5.
Nice little audition for Cody Franson with the game tying goal as he could be a potential blueline upgrade for the Rangers at the trade deadline.
While all the talk will rightfully be about Kreider's game winner. As usual, his ability to get to the front of the net pays off big time on the Zuccarello deflection goal...
The Rangers need more players to replicate Kreider's willingness to pay the price at the top of the crease. Don't get me wrong, Lehner was fantastic tonight, but let's be honest, the Blueshirts had scant rebound opportunities and they didn't provide much obstruction in front of the Sabres goaltender. That needs to change or they'll continue to have difficulty scoring when opponents shut down their transition game.
I assume the only Ranger unhappy about the power play goal was the healthy scratched Pirri, who will likely find himself enjoying MSG fare on Sunday in the press box.
Nice job by AV rewarding Vesey for his goal on Tuesday by putting him right back on the Stepan/Nash line. And it paid off as he was noticeable throughout.
Unfortunately, it came at the expense of Buchnevich who found himself with just 7:10 of ice time. The Russian rookie is now pointless in his last five games after an eight game point streak.