NYR- OTT Period By Period Game 3
After the unmitigated debacle on Saturday night, the Rangers had two days to lick their wounds, watch video, practice, and do some soul searching. Leaving JG Pageau alone all night in front of Henrik Lundqvist was not going to be acceptable again. They busted out of the gate with passion and purpose. Their passing, the most accurate since game one against Montreal, is pinpoint. The forecheck is ferocious. Overwhelming. The puck is barely leaving the Senators zone. The crowd is whipped into a frenzy that is building. Zibanejad swings around the net and makes a great feed to Mats Zuccarello, who one-times it by Craig Anderson. Zuccarello has been much more savvy about shooting the puck more this postseason. With Hayes and Miller playing on the perimeter and preoccupied with passing, the last thing they need is another pass-only player. The Rangers keep the foot on the gas, forcing Anderson into multiple big saves. But, a big weakness of the Ottawa netminder is puck handling, and Grabner is able to beat the Sens, and Anderson, to a Zuccarello pass rimmed around the boards. Grabner quickly wraps the puck in before the goalie can get back to the cage. The Rangers grab a 15-5 shots advantage, and it was every bit that one sided.
— NHL on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) May 2, 2017
The Blueshirts continue their dominance in all three zones. In this period, their shot-blocking skills are on full display, with big blocks by Brendan Smith, Ryan McDonagh, and Zuccarello getting in on the block party. New York’s structure and support are that of a confident team. It is a stark contrast to the fragile and clueless way they played in game two. The Rangers seem to be in the right place at the right time all night. Jimmy Vesey springs Derek Stepan, as two Senators players collide at the blueline. Stepan sees he has a 2 on 1 break with Rick Nash and feeds him down the left wing. Nash snipes it high over Anderson’s right shoulder to make it 3-0. A quick check of the time on ice stats shows Nick Holden and Marc Staal getting the least time of the defensive pairs. J.T. Miller seems to have gotten the message to play at a higher level, as hee is on a line with Tanner Glass and Oscar Lindberg in game three. Miller shows superior stickhandling skills as he buzzes into the Sens zone. He makes a rare (this postseason) bee-line to the net and deftly passes to a wide open Lindberg, who fires it home to make it 4-0. Forty seconds later, a rare Ranger mistake. Bobby Ryan makes a deft, against the grain pass to red hot and wide open Pageau, who fires it by Lundqvist. McDonagh had the coverage on the play and again wasn’t close enough to prevent his man from scoring. The Rangers captain had a great game otherwise. He played with a mean streak and was great with the puck. The tandem of Smith and Brady Skjei played five more minutes than the Nick Holden and Marc Staal pairing thus far in the game.
— NHL on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) May 3, 2017
In this period, the home team kept stifling the team from Ottawa. The Rangers swarmed the ice, fully supporting each other and looking very intimidating in their most impressive and complete game of the postseason. Lundqvist was called on to make several nice saves, making sure he left his mark on the game. This was the best case scenario for Rangers fans; a thorough team effort, where the margin at the end let them breathe easy. Zibinejad, Zuccarello and Chris Kreider, were fantastic all night. Rick Nash and his unit with Stepan and Vesey also flashed plenty of chemistry. All four line were rabid on the forecheck, and all were stout in the defensive zone. The defensive tandems were very good. Staal and Holden playing the least minutes, which clearly benefited the team. Skjei and Smith accepted the extra minutes and thrived. What’s very significant to me, is the Rangers will go into game four with oodles of confidence and on ice chemistry. They have now won three games in a row at home.