The Rangers comeback fell short Tuesday night, losing 4-3 to the New Jersey Devils. The Rangers put 50 shots on goal but only found the back of the net three times. Devils goalie Mackenzie Blackwood played very well, stopping 47 shots. The Rangers had three 3rd period power plays but could not convert on any of them. New Jersey’s young star center Jack Hughes had a monster game. Scoring two goals and assisting on another. Every time he touched the puck good things were happening for the Devils. The Rangers outplayed the Devils in the final period but could never get the tying goal. Here are the highlights from last night.
Lets breakdown some of the good and bad things we saw.
Kreider played his best game of the young season so far. He got the Rangers on the board with a power play goal in the second. After a lucky deflection off a Devils skate. He had about four other high quality scoring chances that were turned away by Blackwood. He was wreaking havoc in front of the net all night. In the 3rd period, he was all over the ice but couldn’t get another past Blackwood.
I think we will be writing his name a lot this year in the played good column. Last night Fox was the Rangers best defensive player. He has taken over the quarterback position on the Rangers first power play unit the last two games and has played great. Last night he assisted on both Rangers power play goals. Giving him 3 points in three games. He led the Rangers in shots on goal last night with six. He also leads the team in ice time, clocking in at 25:31. Over five minutes more than the next Rangers defenseman. Here is a great feed from Fox to Zibanejad for the Rangers second goal on the power play.
What a shot. 🎯 pic.twitter.com/mlHnFwF3Kx— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) January 20, 2021
Another great game from Panarin to follow up his two goal performance Saturday night. Last night the breadman had two assists on both power play goals. The Rangers only took two penalties last night, so he was on the ice a lot. Leading the forwards in ice minutes at 24:42. He was constantly creating in the offensive zone, and his presence on the power play draws defenders to his side. Zibanejad just missed a wide open net last night after the defense slid to Panarin’s side, leaving the back door wide open. His passing skill is such a weapon. He can move the puck so fast and cleanly cross ice for open shot opportunities.
Chytil again played a strong game last night. Scoring the Rangers third goal with 12 minutes left in the 3rd period. He put himself in good scoring positions all night and had four shots on net. He also had a good night in the face off circle. Leading the Rangers in winning percentage at 54.5%. Chytil is making a strong case to be moved up to the second line with Strome struggling. He definitely needs to be moved back to the second power play unit permanently.
We see you, Buch. 👀 pic.twitter.com/sXHY7KdMNV— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) January 20, 2021
Rough night for the 24 year old netminder. Giving up four goals on 20 shots and getting pulled after the second period. After his fantastic performance on Saturday, this was a little step back for him. Shesterkin played well in the 3rd period stopping all eight shots he faced allowing the Rangers to get back in the game. I would expect to see Igor in the net Friday night against Pittsburgh.
Not because of his play but because of how he looked out of it on the bench after losing an edge on the ice and crashing into the boards. It didn’t look like much, but he did not return to the game afterward.
The Rangers had no update last night on his injury. Hopefully, more information is shared after practice later today.
Strome had a terrible game. He passed up a wide open shot in the third period to try and make an ill advised pass that leads to a turnover. On the Rangers second to last power play, he just straight up passed to no one, and the puck left the zone and bailed the Devils out. Strome is still pointless on the season and only has six shots on goal in three games this season. It will be interesting to see if Quinn juggles any lines up in practice today. It might be time for Chytil to get a shot at the second line. It is definitely time to drop him from the first power play. Pavel Buchnevich is a much better power play option right now.
Johnson did his finest Fulton Reed impression last night.
Johnson had about four shots last night that missed the net by a country mile. These were open shots that he just fired 30 feet off the net. I have never seen a player have no control of a shot like that. He had another -1 +/- rating last night. He again looked so slow in the defensive zone. Watching guys like Jack Hughes leave him in the dust as they circled behind the net. I think it is finally time to end this experiment and put him in the press box. Tony DeAngelo should be back in the lineup and out of the doghouse for Fridays game. Brendan Smith has played well, so I think it is time for Johnson to sit down.
The Rangers have a couple of days off now and then head out for their first road trip. The Rangers will play four games in eight days. Opening the trip in Pittsburgh Friday night. After a two game set with the Penguins, they will head to Buffalo for a two game set there. Hopefully, we will hear an update on Zibanejad’s status later today.