Andersson, Rangers Weather the Hurricanes in Raleigh

By Matthew Blittner
Special Contributor to MSGNetworks.com

The other day, Henrik Lundqvist said, “these games still mean something to us players.”

In the Rangers 2-1 victory over the Hurricanes Saturday night at PNC Arena, 2017 first-round draft pick, Lias Andersson made Lundqvist look like a genius.

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.

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

1. MOTIVATING

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.

2. DEFENSE

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.

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3. FACEOFFS

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.

FINAL THOUGHTS

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.

[Watch Rangers-Devils Tuesday on MSG Networks & MSG GO. Download Free]

The Garden of Dreams Foundation helps kids facing obstacles in the Tri-State area, including Rangers fan Taylor Ryan who is battling a rare blood disorder called Langerhans cell histiocytosis.