The other day, Henrik Lundqvist said, “these games still mean something to us players.”
Andersson isn’t the flashiest of players, so you may lose him if you’re not paying close attention. But there’s more to hockey than scoring goals and dishing out assists.
Bill Pidto, Ron Duguay and Steve Valiquette break down a big performance from Henrik Lundqvist, the development of Filip Chytil and more after the Rangers' 2-1 win over Carolina.
There are some players who are born with the innate ability to do the little things right. It’s those players that are often remembered as winners.
BREAKDOWN OF LIAS ANDERSSON’S PERFORMANCE
The Rangers got off to a slow start in the opening frame. At one point they were being outshot eight to one. Then, coach Alain Vigneault was seen going up and down the bench trying to spur his players on.
One of the first to respond was Andersson. With 6:18 gone in the first, Lias found himself deep in Carolina’s zone and he promptly fired a quick wrist shot off the goal post.
While he didn’t score, his scoring chance opened the door for the Blueshirts to begin to battle back.
Alain Vigneault holds his post-game press conference after the Rangers' 2-1 win over the Hurricanes.
Late in the first period, Carolina was on the power-play and buzzing around the Rangers’ zone. It’s very likely that had the Hurricanes scored, the floodgates would have opened.
But Andersson made sure that didn’t happen. A combination of good stick work and a willingness to put his body on the line helped keep the puck away from the Rangers’ net. While those types of plays don’t show up on the stat sheet, they still go a long way towards determining who wins and loses.
As evidenced by the ‘Canes late third period barrage, faceoff wins mean a lot. First and foremost, they lead to puck possession, which then leads to making plays and generating scoring chances.
Lias finished second on the team with five faceoff wins; most coming in the Rangers’ zone.
It’s been said before, and it’ll be said again, Lias Andersson is a character player.
His intangibles and ability to do the little things right are what’s going to make him a successful NHLer.