The Rangers came out flying in this game, as evidenced by the first goal 19 seconds into the game. They played the way we’ve been expecting them to play all year, but haven’t seen it enough. They forechecked, generated offensive chances, and capitalized on their chances. They had their shaky moments, such as the defensive breakdown that led to the first goal, but their good play outweighed their letdowns. This was a big two points for this club, and it’s even better that they got it in regulation. On to the goals:
Rangers 1, Jets 0
Nash draws two, that’s what he does.
The Rangers ended their 127 minute goal scoring drought in the first 19 seconds of the game. Rick Nash drew two people to him at the red line (thanks to Joe Micheletti here for the blue circle, less work for me. One of those drawn to him was defenseman Zach Bogosian. Nash chipped the puck to Ryan Callahan for a 2-on-1, Cally got the puck to Derek Stepan, who beat Onrej Pavelec.
Jets 1, Rangers 0
Four guys? It’s Kyle effing Wellwood.
The lead was short lived, as the Jets came right back with a goal on an awful miscommunication between Steve Eminger and Roman Hamrlik, as both chased the puck to the corner, leaving Nik Antropov alone in front. With four Rangers (and both defensemen) converging on Kyle Wellwood in the corner, Wellwood got the puck to Antropov for the easy goal.
Jets 2, Rangers 1
Unlucky, but blown coverage.
After the Jets win the face off, the puck works its way to a wide open Bogosian for a shot from the point. The shot was available because, as Joe pointed out, Bogosian was Miller’s responsibility, as he lined up as the wing on the draw. The Bogo shot wound up deflecting off Anton Stralman and past Hank. Bad luck, which seems to be the story of the season for the Rangers. That said, this one could have been avoided if the Rangers won the face off in the defensive zone.
Rangers 2, Jets 2
No backcheck = shorthanded 2 on 1.
With the Rangers down two men, Ryan McDonagh made a great play to clear the zone just as the first penalty to Mats Zuccarello was expiring. From the picture, you can see that the Rangers already outnumber the one man back, and since Blake Wheeler was the last player on the point during the five-on-three, it was his job to recognize the situation and backcheck. Zuccarello and Callahan went in two-on-one, and Cally lost possession of the puck, regained possession, and made a nifty move around Pavelec. The goal itself was very pretty.
Rangers 3, Jets 2
Swivel head fail. But he’s gimpy.
After the Rangers rush up the ice, Cally takes a shot frmo the circle that is blocked by Bogosian. The Jets couldn’t clear the puck, and the Rangers, taking advantage of a now injured Bogosian, cycle the puck to the Anton Stralman at the point. When the puck gets to Stralman, Stepan is at the boards on the goal line, behind the gimpy Bogosian. As Stralman winds up for the shot, Stepan cuts to the net, and Bogosian does not see him. Pavelec makes the initial save, but the rebound goes right to Stepan, who has a half second to get a good shot because of the gimpy Bogosian.
Rangers 4, Jets 2
Jokinen back. Never a recipe for success.
The Rangers win a key board battle in the neutral zone, and Dustin Byfuglien loses his stick in the battle. As Byfuglien goes to the bench for a stick, Olli Jokinen has to cover for him on a two-on-two rush against Nash and Brad Richards. Nash knows this, and used Jokinen’s lack of defensive experience against him. He weaved his way in, forcing Jokinen out of position and using him as a screen. Nash is a guy that will score when given that much room.
This win was a huge team win for the Rangers, who got contributions out of pretty much every single player on the ice. These two points gives the Rangers a lot of room to maneuver against the Southeast teams (two games in hand on Winnipeg, three on Carolina). With two games against the Penguins coming, these are much needed points.