Quick Hits – Rangers vs Blue Jackets 2/13/17
Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images
Here is my recap of the Rangers 3-2 win over the Blue Jackets
Kevin Hayes – Once again Kevin Hayes had an impact in a Rangers win. With the game tied at one in the third, Hayes anticipated and stole a pass intended for Columbus defenseman David Savard. Hayes came in on the breakaway, faked backhand and then slid it between the legs of Sergei Bobrovsky. On a night where there wasn’t a lot of open ice, Hayes found a way to create some and helped his team. The amount he has grown this season, both physically and mentally, has to give the Rangers front office high hopes for the future.
Jimmy Vesey – It has been an up and down rookie year for the Rangers rookie. Since his hot start to the season, he cooled off significantly, scoring only three times since December 11th against the Devils. He continues to work hard game in and game out, and it paid off in this one. With the game tied at two, Vesey took a pass from Derek Stepan at center ice, put the puck in the defender’s “triangle”, and beat Bobrovsky over the shoulder on the short side for the game winner. Plays like that are why he was so coveted in the offseason, and if he can start to pick up points with some consistency, he will be a nice piece going forward.
Dan Girardi – Whether you agree with the criticism Dan Girardi has gotten over this season or not, especially on social media, he showed why he has been in the NHL for so long. After needing stitches after the game against the Ducks for blocking a shot, Girardi comes back in the lineup and keeps putting his body on the line. He had three blocked shots in this one, and as an added bonus, he picked up the Rangers first goal of the game. With the Blueshirts shorthanded to start the second period, JT Miller wins a board battle and gets the puck to Kevin Hayes. Hayes has the puck poke checked right to Girardi, whose shot ricocheted past Bobrovsky. Yes, he has had a rough go of it the last 18 months or so, but he gives up everything he can for this team.
Special Teams – I have talked about the Rangers special teams a lot this year, and for good reason. The penalty kill, which was a perfect 4/4 in this one, is now 11th in the NHL. After last season’s abysmal ranking of 26th, the Rangers have significantly improved their PK. As for the power play, the unit has dropped down to 14th in the NHL, after being in the top 10 for a good chunk of the season. I don’t know if it’s their breakouts, the zone entries or just passing up shots, but the Blueshirts need to do a better job of getting the puck to the net with the man advantage.
Antti Raanta – If you didn’t know it, you would have never thought that Antti Raanta hadn’t played in 46 days. He continued his stellar play in this one, only allowing two goals, and making these stops to give the Rangers the win. The first goal came on blown coverage as the Blue Jackets’ first power play expired; while the second came on a deflection off of JT Miller’s skate. Raanta has given the Rangers one of the best goalie tandems in the league, especially with his play during Henrik Lundqvist’s struggles in January. While Henrik Lundqvist is the team’s number one goaltender, it is reassuring to know that the Rangers backup is just as capable.
NEXT GAME: The Rangers will look to extend the win streak to seven when they take on the surging Islanders. Puck drops at 7!
LETS GO RANGERS!!