Games You Should Have Seen

GAME YOU SHOULD HAVE SEEN: Red Wings 5, Senators 4, OT Shootout

2017-04-04T19:10:46+00:00 April 4th, 2017|Games You Should Have Seen|

Joe Louis Arena is headed to the great barn in the sky after two more games. With Detroit falling short of the playoffs for the first time in 26 seasons, the home of the Red Wings made sure not to go quietly into the night.

The Senators couldn’t have been too amused by all the weird things the legendary building rolled out in its dotage. Then again, many of their recent horrors have been self-inflicted and have nothing to do with the house they played in.

Still, they did have to wonder just a little if their environs were haunted last night.

Detroit’s first two goals were scored from behind the end line, which is almost the hockey equivalent of getting a runner home from third on a flyball caught in foul territory. Well — at least if that’s the way you let in the first two goals of the game.

Not to be outspooked, however, Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson turned around and got one of those back, from, yep, behind the end line. And on his, it sure seemed like Mr. Poltergeist had taken up residence among the octopi.

MOVEMENT WITHIN LEAGUE LEADER BOARDS (With Categories and League Rankings)
ERIK KARLSSON, Ottawa:
Deflection (Opponent’s Stick), 3rd of the Year
ERIK KARLSSON, Ottawa
DEFLECTION (OPPONENT’S STICK)
1

Karlsson was deep in the right corner of the Red Wings end when he pitched a centering pass toward the slot. But one of the ghouls who lives below the rink’s floor boards poked his digit through the ice, hoping to thwart Karlsson’s attempt. Instead, the puck deflected off his ectoplasm and took a right turn, rolling right past Detroit goalie Petr Venkman — er, Mrazek — and through the side door into the net.

With both goaltenders now getting suspicious about the funny stuff going on in the ice, the spirits at Joe Louis were lifted — literally — on the Red Wings third goal.

Detroit was on a power play and Gustav Nyquist sought to poke the puck over a sprawling Frederik Anderson, who dove from the Senators’ net to interrupt his in-close bid. The puck ended up caroming off the toe of Nyquist’s skate and then up the shaft of Anderson’s stick into the air.

Enter the invisible flying monkeys. The puck rose above the crossbar, hovering over the crease with eight players encircling it with momentarily fixed gazes. Nyquist then tried to swat it out of the air into the net, but whiffed. But from behind the net — where else? — another stick emerged, that of Tomas Tatar, who got just enough of the warbling disc to edge it past the goal line upon its landing, giving the Red Wings a 4-2 lead.

TOMAS TATAR, Detroit:
Third Period, 11th of the Year; Batted Out of Air, 2nd of the Year
TOMAS TATAR, Detroit
THIRD PERIOD BATTED OUT OF AIR
10 4

Ottawa would tie the game in pretty conventional fashion, although the goal that sent the game to overtime was scored directly from a won faceoff by Frederik Claesson, who has done that twice this year to tie for the NHL lead in that category, despite having just one other goal on the year.

And if you think the Joe had had enough for one night — or one lifetime — it made sure the overtime would yield to a shootout. From there, it took 13 shots until anyone scored. And that someone would turn out to be the Red Wings Evgeny Svechnikov, playing in his first NHL game.

It seems the old Joe was finally ready to give way to the new.

KYLE TURRIS, Ottawa:
High Slot, 5th of the Year; Snap Shot, 7th of the Year; Screen, 10th of the Year; Third Period, 12th of the Year
KYLE TURRIS, Ottawa
HIGH SLOT SNAP SHOT SCREEN THIRD PERIOD
3 6 1 4
FREDRIK CLAESSON, Ottawa:
Directly from Won Faceoff, 2nd of the Year
FREDRIK CLAESSON, Ottawa
DIRECTLY FROM WON FACEOFF
1

GAME YOU SHOULD HAVE SEEN: Islanders 3, Rangers 2

2017-03-23T18:12:18+00:00 March 23rd, 2017|Games You Should Have Seen|

The Rangers, who had been pushed to overtime the previous night by the Devils, gave the Islanders more than they could handle last night in every respect but on the scoreboard.

With 9 games left on their schedule, the Rangers came into the game strangely ensconced. They occupy the first wild-card berth, six points below and twelve points ahead of the teams nearest them in playoff positioning.

For the Islanders, on the other hand, playoff hockey has started about three weeks early — and they can only hope they get a taste of the real thing.

But it was the Rangers, who, to the naked eye, played the game with the greater sense of urgency. Of course, that only applies to the 10 skaters. Islander goaltender Thomas Greiss was a fortress for the Islanders against a barrage of high-quality shots by the Rangers throughout the game. He had to be, particuarly after the Islanders took a 3-2 lead with seven and a half minutes remaining in the third period.

From that point on, the Islanders spent little time in the Rangers end. Heck — they hardly were able to crack their own blue line. Time after time, the Ranger defenseman kept the puck in at the point, leading to a succession of heart-in-the-throat moments for Islander fans, as they kept one eye on the action and the other on the clock.

In the end, the Islanders prevailed thanks to a nice set-up of Andrew Ladd by Anders Lee for a power play goal from the door step. The Islanders also received outstanding performances from Anthony Beauvillier and Joshua Ho-Sang, who provided much-needed pressure releases with their aggressive skating and puck-carrying.

Rick Nash was brilliant for the Rangers, scoring in the second period on a fine effort in which he fended off Islander defenseman Thomas Hickey and lifted the puck by Greiss while falling to the ice. Nash had a step on the Islanders defense all night. Lee turned in a fine game for the Islanders, converting a rebound on the rush from a Beauvillier backhander to score their first goal and then setting up Ladd for the game-winner in the third period.

Much work left to be done for the Islanders, who must play Pittsburgh on Friday and then take on the team immediately above them — the Bruins — the following night. We’ll see how long they can hold up under the demands of playoff hockey in March.

MOVEMENT WITHIN LEAGUE LEADER BOARDS (With Categories and League Rankings)
RICK NASH, Rangers:
Behind Enemy Lines, 4th of the Year
RICK NASH, Rangers
BEHIND ENEMY LINES
7

GAME YOU SHOULD HAVE SEEN: Maple Leafs 4, Bruins 2

2017-03-21T16:41:10+00:00 March 21st, 2017|Games You Should Have Seen|

With the Lightning and Islanders still in hot pursuit of the last two playoff spots in the Eastern Conference, the Bruins and Maple Leafs — who hold the last two places — squared off against each other at Air Canada Centre. And the air there was thick with playoff-quality anxiety.

But the Leafs are an offense-first team, and the Bruins, more cautious, but with potent weapons of their own, didn’t sit back and allow the game to be played in their end. In fact, Boston won the shots battle 35-30, but lost the war, 4-2.

Hard to believe this was a 1-1 tie with under two minutes left in regulation. But with Toronto on a power play thanks to a controversial intereference call on Boston’s Dominic Moore, Tyler Bozak drilled home a snap shot from just inside the fat part of the left circle for the game-winner.

Toronto really pressed the issue during the power play, sending four men low while moving the puck around. Finally Bozak got free for a moment and James van Riemsdyk fed him with a brilliant one-timed pass that cut all the way across the right circle to find Bozak on the edge of the left.

The Leafs padded the lead with two empty-net goals before Dominic Moore got the Bruins to 4-2 with 10 seconds left, scoring a decidedly anti-climactic 100th career goal.

David Backes for Boston and Toronto’s Morgan Rielly traded first period goals.

Remains to be seen, but Eastern Conference observers might be treated to another three weeks of pre-playoff Cup-like intensity if the four teams persist in their frantic chase for the final two playoff openings.

There was no movement on any of the leader boards resulting from last night’s goals, as Auston Matthews, Brad Marchand, and David Pastrnak were all held off the board.

GAME YOU SHOULD HAVE SEEN: Oilers 4, Panthers 3

2017-02-23T19:26:39+00:00 February 23rd, 2017|Games You Should Have Seen|

The Panthers, who have been injury-riddled and dormant for the entire season, came home last night after beginning to collect their players back and just as important, wins.

Aleksandr Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau have recently rejoined the team following long absences. Both ignited Florida to a five-game win streak — all on the road.

The Oilers also have been playing very well, having won three of their last four coming into their game in Florida. While the Panthers, the Islanders, the Maple Leafs, and Bruins are separated by just one point for the final two playoff spots in the Eastern Conference, Edmonton sits comfortably in the Pacific Division, where the three top teams are under no immediate threat for their involvement in this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs.

MOVEMENT WITHIN LEAGUE LEADER BOARDS (With Categories and League Rankings)
OSCAR KLEFBOM, Edmonton:
Slap Shot, 6th of the Year; Left Point, 2nd of the Year; Blue Line, 5th of the Year
OSCAR KLEFBOM, Edmonton
Slap Shot Left Point Blue Line
5 1 2

The high caliber of play being demonstrated by both teams was reflected by the dispersal of goals last night. Like a seven-game series in which the home team wins every game, the two teams traded goals right until the end, with the Oilers coming away with a 4-3 victory.

One of the key elements of Florida’s resurgence has been its proclivity to respond immediately after giving up a goal with a score of its own. They exercised no such instant urgency last night, but did tie the game on three separate occasions, including Jonathan Marchessault’s power play goal with four seconds left in the second period, when he inexplicably got behind the Edmonton defense and landed a wrist shot from the slot to tie the game at three heading into the final period.

The momentum, however, swung back to the other team as it had all night. The Oilers got the decisive goal from an unlikely hero, Kris Russell, who scored his first goal of the season with just under eight minutes left at the conclusion of a 4-on-2 rush for Edmonton.

ALEKSANDR BARKOV, Florida:
Right Circle (Lower, Inside Dot), 3rd of the Year
ALEKSANDR BARKOV, Florida
Right Circle (Lower, Inside Dot)
3

Oilers defenseman Oscar Klefbom opened the scoring with his 11th of the season with a bullet from the left point. He’s one of five players to score twice from there this year and only Brent Burns has put home more goals from the blue line in general. Barkov, who has been pistol-hot since returning to the lineup eight games ago, scored his sixth goal over that span in the first minute of the second period to tie the game at one.

But it was the unlikely goal from 10-year veteran Russell which captured the win for Edmonton, which is showing every indication of ending their 10-year playoff drought this season.

JONATHAN MARCHESSAULT, Florida:
Ahead of the Pack, 3rd of the Year; Behind Enemy Lines, 3rd of the Year
JONATHAN MARCHESSAULT, Florida
AHEAD OF THE PACK BEHIND ENEMY LINES
2 5

GAME YOU SHOULD HAVE SEEN: Panthers 6, Sharks 5 (OT)

2017-02-16T16:53:54+00:00 February 16th, 2017|Games You Should Have Seen|

The Sharks are right back where they were last year when they emerged as the Western Conference representative in the Stanley Cup final. Their 74 points put them atop the Pacific Division and third in the conference overall. Florida, on the other hand, has a little more work to do to get back into the playoffs this year. But with 60 points and the return of a productive Aleksandr Barkov from injury, the Panthers are in as good a shape as anyone to make a playoff push from the bottom half of the congested East.

The Panthers are 5-3-2 in their last 10, including winning the first two of five on the road after their overtime victory over San Jose. Since Barkov returned to the lineup following a lengthy midseason absence, Florida has won three of its four games.

Barkov’s impact has been significant to the Panthers surge. He has scored in three straight games and put two on the board against the Sharks for a team, which going into last night, was tied with the Kings for the fourth fewest goals in the NHL.

The Panthers continue to lean heavily on 45-year-old marvel Jaromir Jagr, who reached 1900 career points with an assist last night. Jagr is no mere gate-attraction, however. As he had done in four of the five previous years, he once again is in positive plus/minus territory this season. And his 32 points put him just two out of second place on the team.

MOVEMENT WITHIN LEAGUE LEADER BOARDS (With Categories and League Rankings)
BRENT BURNS, San Jose:
Blue Line, 8th of the Year; Blue Line (Center Ice), 5th of the Year; Snap Shot, 6th of the Year; First Period, 9th of the Year
BRENT BURNS, San Jose
Blue Line Blue Line (Center Ice) Snap Shot First Period
1 1 5 6

All that said, it was the work of another returning Panther from injury which won the game for Florida.

Jonathan Huberdeau put home a shot from in front of the net a minute and a half into overtime to cap a wild-and-woolly 6-5 Florida victory. Since his return from a season-long absence, Huberdeau has been on fire, with three goals and four assists in four games. The Panthers have stayed on the outskirts of playoff contention without Barkov and Huberdeau, and the logjam for the final playoff spots in the East might be on the verge of getting that much tighter with their return.

MARC-EDOUARD VLASIC, San Jose:
Carom (Opponent’s Skate or Body), 2nd of the Year
MARC-EDOUARD VLASIC, San Jose
Carom (Opponent’s Skate or Body)
4

The Sharks, in spite of their marquee names, don’t generally get into run-and-gun games. They play very conservatively with a lead, but last night faced two separate two-goal deficits. Trailing 5-3 late in the third period, Joe Pavelski got them into overtime with two goals in the final 3 and a half minutes, the second coming with the Sharks net empty. With his two goals, Pavelski has sole league leadership in two separate categories related to scoring zones.

But the revitalized Panthers struck early in overtime and needed to play the extra session with backup goalie James Reimer, after Luongo suffered from muscle cramps resulting from doing the splits on Pavelski’s game-tying goal.

JOE PAVELSKI, San Jose:
Left Circle (Lower, Outside Dot), 2nd of the Year; Right Circle (Middle, Inside Dot), 5th of the Year
JOE PAVELSKI, San Jose
Left Circle (Lower, Outside Dot) Right Circle (Middle, Inside Dot)
1 1

GAME YOU SHOULD HAVE SEEN: Sabres 3, Senators 2

2017-02-15T19:19:08+00:00 February 15th, 2017|Games You Should Have Seen|

It’s almost a guarantee that whenever two teams in the Eastern Conference face each other, the game will have heavy playoff implications.

The Sabres, who have been winning dramatically when they’ve been winning at all, pushed their non-overtime record above .500 again with a comeback win in Ottawa. The Senators expended one of the five games in hand they have with Boston and the two teams remained tied, a point ahead of Toronto for second place in the Atlantic Division.

The Senators held a 2-1 lead going into the third period, but it didn’t hold up very long. Matt Moulson, who had scored all but two of his 11 goals on the power play, capitalized at even strength when a puck parachuted into the crease following an attempted stuff by Sam Reinhart. Ottawa goaltender Craig Anderson thwarted his close-in scoring effort, but the puck popped straight up over his shoulder and lay in the blue paint, where Moulson jammed it home.

MOVEMENT WITHIN LEAGUE LEADER BOARDS (With Categories and League Rankings)
BOBBY RYAN, Ottawa:
First Period, 10th of the Year; Screen, 6th of the Year
BOBBY RYAN, Ottawa
First Period Screen
4 2

Justin Bailey provided the winning margin for Buffalo with seven and a half minutes remaining in regulation when he scored his second goal of the season with a superior shoulder-high deflection on the door step.

Moulson and Ryan O’Reilly both scored first minute goals in separate periods for the Sabres, who came away for the seventh time this year with a win after trailing entering the third period. Robin Lehner was outstanding in goal for Buffalo, making 39 saves on 41 shots.

Bobby Ryan tied the game 1-1 for the Senators with a nifty redirect for his 10th first period goal. He’s scored just one goal in any other period.

MATT MOULSON, Buffalo:
First Minute of a Period, 2nd of the Year
MATT MOULSON, Buffalo
First Minute of a Period
6

GAME YOU SHOULD HAVE SEEN: Rangers 3, Blue Jackets 2

2017-02-14T17:30:17+00:00 February 14th, 2017|Games You Should Have Seen|

The Rangers, who started off the year hot enough to delay recognition in the hockey world of just how well Columbus was playing, have heated up once again — and last night it was at the Blue Jackets expense.

In fact, the two teams are now tied for points in a frantic Eastern Conference battle in which even the teams looking in from the outside don’t have to fix their gaze too far. Witness the Lightning, who a couple of weeks ago had actually sunk to the bottom of the conference, but now have ascended to within four points of the wild card.

Though New York is technically one of those wild card teams, they’re also in a three-way tie for second in the Atlantic Division with the Blue Jackets and Penguins after winning their sixth in a row last night. So the two points were precious and the teams played accordingly.

MOVEMENT WITHIN LEAGUE LEADER BOARDS (With Categories and League Rankings)
DAN GIRARDI, Rangers:
Deflection (Opponent’s Stick), 2nd of the Year; Above Right Circle, 2nd of the Year
DAN GIRARDI, Rangers
Deflection (Opponent’s Stick) Above Right Circle
2 4

Ultimately, Jimmy Vesey’s quick and deceptive shot from a low angle in the right circle delivered the 3-2 win to the Rangers. Vesey captured the puck in the neutral zone behind the red line and never stopped until he switched from backhand to forehand deep in the circle, letting the puck fly with a strong wrister to beat Columbus goalie Sergei Bobrovsky. The goal came with six and a half minutes remaining in regulation.

It was Vesey’s first carry over the blue line for a goal this year — a category New York has specialized in all season, with Kevin Hayes, Rick Nash, and league leader Michael Grabner all in the NHL’s top 10.

NICK FOLIGNO, Columbus:
Wrist Shot, 13th of the Year; Carom (Opponent’s Skate or Body), 2nd of the Year
NICK FOLIGNO, Columbus
Wrist Shot Carom (Opponent’s Skate or Body)
8 4

Nick Foligno had tied the game two minutes earlier for the Blue Jackets, on a bit of a fluker. Positioned behind the Rangers goal, Foligno tried to get the puck in front to Alexander Wennberg. Instead it caromed off the skate of a backchecking J.T. Miller and past New York goalie Antti Raanta.

Columbus applied great pressure in the final 30 seconds with its net empty, but Raanta stopped Cam Atkinson point blank and then David Savard’s bullet from the left point. That save resulted in the Blue Jackets crashing the net as the puck lay exposed just outside the left post. Foligno continually tried to will it through Raanta’s pad, but the Ranger goalie’s pads never left the post and eventually the puck skittered out of harm’s way and out of the zone, leaving Columbus’ last-gasp chance behind along with it.

The Eastern Conference features about one of these fierce clashes for playoff positioning / survival every night. Should they match last night’s suspenseful action, the wind-down to the season should be intense.

GAME YOU SHOULD HAVE SEEN: Blackhawks 4, Wild 3 (OT)

2017-02-09T16:26:14+00:00 February 9th, 2017|Games You Should Have Seen|

Well, if you did see a game, you saw this one, as it was the only one on the NHL schedule last night. And it gave you no reason to wish the menu was any broader.

The Blackhawks clearly have a new rival in the Central Division. For years, their battles with St. Louis have been captivating, while their three playoff takeouts of Minnesota were a lot less so, from 2013-2015.

And now it appears that Chicago has weathered the pinch of the salary cap and re-fortified their roster around Toews, Kane, Hossa, Keith, and, maybe most importantly, Crawford. And the Blues are still hanging around the middle of the division, but their place as chief Hawks rival is quickly being usurped by the Wild.

Minnesota went into the game with a 7-point lead over the Blackhawks for the Central lead. Not only have they allowed fewer goals than any team in the Western Conference, but they have received exceptional scoring depth. Ten of their forwards are already in double digits for goals scored, and three of their defenseman are likely to get there by season’s end.

MOVEMENT WITHIN LEAGUE LEADER BOARDS (With Categories and League Rankings)
ZACH PARISE, Wild:
Rebounds (Own), 2nd of the Year
ZACH PARISE, WILD
Rebounds (Own)
4

But it was an offensive thrust by a stay-at-home defenseman that almost propelled Minnesota to a stirring come-from-behind win.

With Minnesota trailing by a goal and just over three minutes remaining in the third period, hulking, bulky Marco Scandella found himself with the puck in his own end and a clear lane to skate it out himself. It was an adventure in stickhandling, but soon he found himself at the Chicago blue line before the Hawks caught on that he was indeed intent on making a play in the their end.

Two Chicago players descended on him, but still to no avail as Scandella made his way through the right circle on his backhand. Finally he got some help from a teammate, as Erik Haula streaked for the front of the net and Scandella tossed the puck toward the crease where Haula had attained inside position on Artem Anisimov and redirected the perfect backhand pass past Corey Crawford.

Four Minnesota skaters celebrated in the corner, and then, as though the thought occurred to each of them simultaneously, they separated a bit and looked across the ice with broad smiles as Scandella skated toward them and then greeted him with a four-way hug.

Though this was a magical moment in a magical season, the goal merely tied the game.

RICHARD PANIK, Blackhawks:
Crease, 3rd of the Year; Slide / Stuff / Poke / Jam / Chip / Shovel / Tap, 2nd of the Year
RICHARD PANIK, BLACKHAWKS
Crease Slide / Stuff / Poke / Jam / Chip / Shovel / Tap
10 8

The overtime period was thrills galore with great saves, near misses, odd-man rushes, players out of gas but helpless to get off the ice . . . very much Cup-style intensity.

Midway through the overtime the Hawks went on a power play, following a strangulation call on Ryan Suter (maybe it was holding — will have to check the box score). With the 4-on-3 advantage, Chicago patiently moved the puck around and then struck when Jonathan Toews banged home a rebound from the side of the crease of a Duncan Keith slap shot.

ERIK HAULA, Wild:
Crease, 3rd of the Year
ERIK HAULA, WILD
Crease
10

Remains to be seen if this thriller serves as a preview of the Western Conference semifinals (the latest the two teams can meet in the playoffs). But if it does, expect a much more level playing surface, as the Hawks try to fend off the latest challenger to their Central Division supremacy.

GAME YOU SHOULD HAVE SEEN: Islanders 6, Maple Leafs 5

2017-02-07T19:22:45+00:00 February 7th, 2017|Games You Should Have Seen|

A true catharsis for the Islanders was this one.

If there’s one thing their season hasn’t been, it’s boring. But boring probably looked pretty good to the New York faithful after a cavalcade of late blown leads and heartbreaking losses which have bedeviled them through the first half of the season. But last night they erased a lot of the bitter tastes with an exhilarating comeback against the Maple Leafs.

In a 6-5 overtime thriller, no goals were scored on the power play. In fact, only two minors were issued all game. So what was left was a raucous game in which the teams split 45 hits, put at least three goals on the board in every period, and, not incidentally, fought hard for the final spots in the Eastern Conference playoff chase.

The Islanders closed to within three points of the Flyers for a wild-card spot, while Toronto remained tied for the final playoff spot in the Atlantic Division with Boston — though the Leafs have four games in hand. Call it parity or call it seriously intriguing, but no team in the Atlantic is farther back than six points from a wild card spot.

MOVEMENT WITHIN LEAGUE LEADER BOARDS (With Categories and League Rankings)
RYAN STROME, Islanders:
Carry (2 Zones, Red Line In)
RYAN STROME, ISLANDERS
Carry (2 Zones, Red Line In), 3rd of the Year
1

Five different players scored for the Leafs. And that was the case too for the Islanders until Brock Nelson scored his second of the game midway through overtime on a 3-on-1 rush, in which he carried the puck through all 3 zones before letting loose with a snap shot from the upper right circle that cleanly beat Toronto goalie Frederik Anderson.

Just getting that far was nerve-wracking for New York, which fell behind 4-2 midway through the second period following what looked like a deflating shorthanded goal by Zach Hyman, who joined the league leaders with his third goal of the year while a man down. Nelson got one back for the Islanders who then tied the game at 4-4 when Josh Bailey knocked one in from the side of the crease with 6 and a half minutes left in the third.

NIKITA SOSHNIKOV, Toronto:
Carry (3 Zones), 2nd of the Year
NIKITA SOSHNIKOV, TORONTO
Carry (3 Zones)
2

Then the man who just about wears NY Islander on his sweater every night, but always skates for the opponent, struck with what looked to be the backstabber with three minutes left in the third. That man is William Nylander and he converted a Connor Carrick pass on a one-timer from the lower left circle in a blur, with New York goalie Thomas Greiss in no position to block the shot.

But scarcely a half minute later, Andrew Ladd set up shop in front of the Toronto goal and nudged a shot-pass from Bailey to the back of the net and the Islanders had reversed their season-long pattern of giving up late leads.

Nelson’s overtime goal came on the Islanders first shot of the extra session, while the Leafs only put one shot of their own on net, but had four others blocked by the Islanders, who, spurred on by a season of oh-so-closes, oh-so-closed this one out with a win.

AUSTON MATTHEWS, Toronto:
Wrist Shot, 14th of the Year; Odd-Man Rushes, 4th of the Year; First Period, 12th of the Year; Right Circle (Lower, Inside Dot), 3rd of the Year
AUSTON MATTHEWS, TORONTO
Wrist Shot First Period Odd-Man Rushes Right Circle (Lower, Inside Dot)
3 2 2 3
ZACH HYMAN, Toronto:
Odd-Man Rush (2-on-1), 2nd of the Year; Shorthanded, 3rd of the Year; Shorthanded (5-on-4), 3rd of the Year
ZACH HYMAN, TORONTO
Odd-Man Rush (2-on-1) Shorthanded Shorthanded (5-on-4)
6 1 1

GAME YOU SHOULD HAVE SEEN: Rangers 4, Flames 3

2017-02-06T21:58:23+00:00 February 6th, 2017|Games You Should Have Seen|

The Rangers got goals from three of the players who have sparked their offense throughout the year to hold back Calgary, 4-3, at Madison Square Garden.

While Chris Kreider and Michael Grabner have both now turned the corner on the 20-goal plateau, Rick Nash had been suffering through one of his enigmatic stretches, going seven games without a goal after being a significant part of the rampaging Rangers attack through much of the first half of the season.

So the Garden faithful had to be encouraged when Nash tied the game at one apiece in the first period on a typical selection from his bag of scoring tricks. On this goal he failed to be beat Flames goaltender Brian Elliott on a redirect, but converted his own rebound — the second time he’s done so this season. And he picked the puck clean out of the air, just before it had returned to the ice to save himself a crucial split-second.

The score remained tied a 1 until Grabner came through in the third period — as he has so often this year. His quick shot from the center of the right circle gave him 11 third period goals, second only to Nikolaj Ehlers’ 12 — and that’s even excluding the bushel of empty-netters both have them have scored this year.

Troy Brouwer, however, tied the game for the Flames when he opportunistically collected an errant pass which hit a skate in the slot and filled up a vacant net, as New York goaltender Henrik Lundqvist anticipated the puck hitting the stick of a different Flames forward.

Kreider gave the Rangers the lead for good at the 8:20 mark on a 3-zone carry to the left circle in the Flames end, where he let loose with a blistering snap shot that caromed off the boot of Calgary defenseman Dennis Wideman and over Elliot’s far shoulder.

Jesper Fast of the Rangers and Matthew Tkachuk of the Flames traded goals in the last ten minutes of the period, but it was Fast’s defense which really proved decisive. With the closing seconds of the third period ticking away, Fast blocked Mark Giordano’s last-ditch effort to tie the game and the Rangers had themselves a regulation win and — they hope — a resurgent Nash to look forward to.

MOVEMENT WITHIN LEAGUE LEADER BOARDS (With Categories and League Rankings)
DOUGIE HAMILTON, Flames:
Blue Line, 3rd of the Year; Right Point, 2nd of the Year
DOUGIE HAMILTON, CALGARY
Blue Line Right Point
6 2
RICK NASH, Rangers:
Rebound (Own), 2nd of the Year; Door Step, 6th of the Year
RICK NASH, RANGERS
Door Step Rebound (Own)
10 4
MICHAEL GRABNER, Rangers:
Snap Shot, 5th of the Year; Third Period, 11th of the Year
MICHAEL GRABNER, RANGERS
Snap Shot Third Period
5 2
CHRIS KREIDER, Rangers:
Third Period, 8th of the Year
CHRIS KREIDER, RANGERS
Third Period
8
MATTHEW TKACHUK, Flames:
Deflection (Own Stick), 4th of the Year
MATTHEW TKACHUK, FLAMES
Deflection (Own Stick)
2