The juggernaut that went for “naut” in the loss to Vancouver is speeding along again. Alain Vigneault‘s thinking after the Vancouver defeat simply was “What’s broke needs fixing.” So, he did some tinkering and the results speak for its success.
THE KEYS TO VICTORY
- Michael Grabner‘s quick goal at 6:32 of the first period immediately deflated an easily de-flatable Calgary club.
- The Blueshirts were energized by the score and mobilized their all-four-line offense, giving the Flames little room to work.
- With the forecheck working neatly and other gears meshing, Derek Stepan‘s second goal of the season — less than six minutes after Grabner’s — put the Rangers up two-zip after one period and feeling road-comfortable.
- Going back to their roots, the Rangers played with speed, moved the puck well and utilized all four offensive units, while goaltending was superior.
- Any Flames counter-attacks were neutralized in the second period when Jimmy Vesey‘s scored his seventh rookie goal, dispelling any notion that he was in a “slump.”
- The youth movement continues to prevail. In addition to Vesey, Pavel Buchnevich added to his rave reviews. The Russian rookie tallied his fourth goal at 14:22 to virtually dare the Flames to mount a comeback.
- Vigneault’s line reshuffling was a deft move with all four units on the board with points. Ten different Rangers — including nine different forwards — registered a point against Calgary.
- Henrik Lundqvist still has the goods. The King stopped 35-of-36 shots and in his last eight starts has posted a 7-1-0 record and 1.88 GAA, plus .934 save percentage.
- The scoring machine is intact. New York has registered four or more goals in 10 of its first 15 games this season.
- Despite the 4-1 triumph, the Rangers allowed the Flames too many scoring opportunities, forcing “The King” to work time-and-a-half in the third period when the home club delivered 16 shots. Then again, when the visitors enter the final frame with a four-goal lead, a home team counterattack is inevitable.
“This was a totally different Rangers club than the one which lost to Vancouver,” says my colleague Patrick McCormack. “They beat Calgary the way they’ve been winning all season — with speed and skill.”
The Blueshirts challenge tonight will be stopping Connor McDavid and his Oilers in Edmonton. Coverage on MSG begins at 9 PM. With an encouraging start, the Oilers are 9-5-1 with 19 points compared to the Rangers 11-4-0 and 22 points.
This figures to be a resiliency test for the Rangers. A tough one!