After tallying five unanswered goals in two periods, the success on special teams helped New York escape with a victory over the Red Wings. On the back of a dominant 40 minutes of play, the Rangers played ever-so-slightly on their heels, allowing Detroit to respond with three unanswered goals.
New York notched five unanswered goals between the first two periods themselves. Ultimately, those five were enough to leave Tuesday’s game with a victory over a talented team in the Atlantic Division. After what we all witnessed in Minnesota last Saturday, the response was well-needed and well-deserved. What’s important to note here is that the Rangers are finding ways to win without three talented players. The next-man-up mentality seems to be working.
The Powerplay Is A-OK
After Adam Fox left last Thursday’s game against Carolina, Ranger fans began to freak out and rightfully so. There is no denying that Fox is arguably the most talented Blueshirt. Losing him to a lower-body injury was a blow, but there is still time to get your ticket and hop on “The Gus Bus”.
Even though New York has only played 12 games, Erik Gustafsson is turning into Chris Drury’s signing of the summer. With eight points (3G, 5A) in 12 games played, Gustafsson is solidifying himself as a solid replacement for Fox. No one will ever display the quarterbacking skills that #23 possesses but have no fear when Gustafsson is out with the top unit.
How the Scoring Was Done
With their two goals on the man advantage on Tuesday, New York is now tied for second in powerplay percentage with an impressive 34.1%. They are tied with the Tampa Bay Lightning and sit just below the New Jersey Devils who have posted a remarkable 41.7% thus far. At the current rate, the Ranger powerplay is destined to remain towards the top for the majority of the season. As long as Chris Kreider is parked in front of the opposing goaltender, the powerplay goals will follow.
LET THEM COOK. ? pic.twitter.com/nNd2H90Tvc
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) November 8, 2023
It was Groundhog Day again on Tuesday as we witnessed another trademark tip-in goal from Kreider. The second powerplay goal was Vincent Trocheck’s second of the night, finding himself wide-open in the slot. The Rangers’ man advantage will forever be successful because of two key traits: Fox’s quarterbacking and the vision of Artemi Panarin and Mika Zibanejad. Both players know exactly what they are going to do with the puck before they receive it. Zibanejad’s feed to Trocheck was spot on, the epitome of a tape-to-tape pass in the hockey world.
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) November 8, 2023
Although the lack of goals might be somewhat alarming, Zibanejad is still a dangerous playmaker. If he’s not hitting his one-timers, he’s still ending up on the scoresheet with an apple. Let Panarin remind you all that assists are, in fact, just as good as goals. At this rate, the goals will eventually make a dramatic return to Zibanejad’s repertoire. With all of the pieces making up the metaphorical puzzle, the entire league will keep New York’s powerplay on close watch.
Do Not Sleep On The Penalty Kill
Gustafsson has already been labelled as Peter Laviolette’s signing of the summer. What if we add a hiring of the summer as well? The entire coaching staff has been inspiring, earning Coaching Staff of the Month by the Coaches Association. One man who has made an immediate impact on his players is the former New York Islander Michael Peca.
Peca has been working closely with the forwards, specifically his fellow centers with their work at the faceoff dot. Success on special teams not only occurs on the powerplay but also when down a man. New York has the ninth-best penalty kill, coming in at a robust 86%. What this proves is that the number of faceoffs won and shots blocked are going unnoticed by many, but fans know the effort being shown by the Blueshirts.
Nick Bonino continues to be the best faceoff taker on the team. Through 12 games, he has won 57.9% of his draws so far. New York’s team faceoff percentage over the last few years has been abysmal. The addition of Peca and a centreman like Bonino has turned New York’s confidence at the draw from night into day.
Most blocks/GP by a player this season:
3.67 — Jacob Trouba
3.63 — Alexandre Carrier
3.44 — Nick Bonino
Trouba and Bonino have been great when it comes to killing off penalties and preventing good chances pic.twitter.com/ADQHS6cbMh
— RangersMuse (@nyrangersmuse) November 1, 2023
Coming to Broadway: “Another Wild Night”
The success on special teams will look to carry over into Thursday when New York welcomes the Minnesota Wild. After their nine-goal thriller last Saturday, the Rangers will look to clean up their man coverage, after giving up a three-goal lead. No updates have been provided yet on the status of Fox and Filip. On the plus side, Peter Laviolette said to the press that Igor Shesterkin is now a “full go”. Shesterkin will likely regain his crease against Minnesota on Thursday.
Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. EST on Thursday from The World’s Most Famous Arena.
Main Photo: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports