Six Shooters: NY Rangers Score Six Goals Again, Defeat Vancouver 6-4 For Sixth Win In A Row

This recap will be brought to you by the number six! The NY Rangers defeated the Vancouver Canucks last night 6-4 for their sixth straight win, including the team scoring six goals in three consecutive games. The Blueshirts stay hot, but it was far from perfect, so let’s break down the good, the bad, and everything in between.

THAT’S GOOD!

ON FIRE

For most of the season, Mika Zibanejad has been an outstanding, all-around two-hundred-foot player that has been overall productive. However, we still had not seen the version of Mika that gets so hot; he seemed to have flames digitally trailing him all over the ice like some 90’s video game (or a TV executive’s ill-advised idea to draw more viewers). Well, that Mika has arrived.

That’s seven goals in his last five games (nine goals in his previous eight games), and it’s no shock that’s coinciding with the whole team thriving offensively. I’ve often said that even with all this talent, Mika is the main stealth engine behind this team’s offense.  

When he is on like this, it doesn’t matter if the Kid Line is a non-factor; if Igor has an off night or name-your-deficiency, this team usually wins.  

Now if that streak coincides with someone like Panarin scoring like this as well, six will be the bare minimum of what this team can put up each night.  

It’s fun as hell to watch, and it permeates throughout the whole team. Eight other players not named Mika or Artemi had points last night, and if you venture back on this six-game winning streak, you’ll probably find similar productivity. That makes us severely dangerous each night and virtually unstoppable when our goaltending is at its apex.

OFFENSIVE DEFENSE

Part of our surging production can be directly tied to the offensive ability of our defenseman. Four points last night (One goal, three assists), and the unit as a whole has the 2nd most points in the NHL for defensemen. Heck, even Mikkola had an assist last night (after a greedy Panarin ruthlessly stole his goal away from him 😉

It’s a sneaky secret weapon for this team and really is a nice security blanket if our forwards ever go into a funk. It surely kept us afloat when we were still finding our way early in the season.

THAT’S BAD!

OFFENSIVE DEFENSE

No, this category is not a misprint. You’re seeing double for a reason. You take the win, but the defense was atrocious last night. The first three goals were directly related to our maddening inability to clear the puck from our own zone, and the last one was again letting a player skate right in unencumbered. Essentially, our two worst habits were burning us again, and it kept the game tight when it should have been a blowout.

The good news is, there’s no true mystery to fix this constant issue; it’s just that they can’t help but lapse into these instances.  

Give Canucks some credit for smart and intense forecheck pressure, but it’s not just about losing battles against the boards. The problem is when the Rangers win the battles and possess the puck and then STILL fail to clear the zone. Lazy or soft passes, hesitation, bad luck-name your poison.  

There is a wonderful happy medium between not assertively clearing the zone and icing, and the Rangers seem to have trouble finding that balance when they are at their worst.

Again, it’s fixable and within their grasp; we just need to see it more often.

CAN I GO NOW?

  • One of the shakier games you’ll see from Adam Fox, despite the assist. It’s probably not a coincidence then that the defense suffered. That’s ok; he’s allowed an off night here or there after his usual sustained excellence.
  • Igor was a little off as well too. Again, I blame the defense for most of that, but he’s usually a rock, even when things are burning around him. The offense was the elixir last night, and sometimes a team needs that.
  • Another really solid and effective game from Vesey.
  • Absolutely shocked that Panarin didn’t get the hat trick. Several chances, including missing the empty net at the end. Again, if he “only” gets two goals a night, I guess we’ll have to live with that kind of letdown 🙂
  • No rest for the wicked as the Rangers wrap up their west coast swing Friday at Edmonton and then a back-to-back vs. Calgary. Two talented but beatable teams, including the rematch of the game of the year with the Flames 

Marc Panzer

NYR Fan living in Long Island

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