It started out not so good. By night’s finish, Jimmy Vesey more than made up for a bad power play shift. His first career NHL hat trick led the Blueshirts to a nice 6-3 home victory over the Hurricanes at MSG.
The win was one that wouldn’t have been possible without the sparkling play of backup Alexandar Georgiev. The Bulgarian faced 44 Carolina shots and stopped 41 to pickup his first home win and second of his career. He easily outplayed curious Canes starter Scott Darling. A odd choice considering how poorly he’s played. He was not good allowing four goals on 21 shots including a stoppable one from Vesey that proved to be the winner.
The Rangers were opportunistic. They may have had less than half the shots but buried their chances. In particular, it was the play of the newly formed line of Vesey, Pavel Buchnevich and Vladislav Namestnikov that did most of the damage. The cohesive trio combined for seven points (4-3-7) and a plus-five rating.
It was also a big game for Mats Zuccarello. He scored for the third consecutive game also adding a empty netter giving him four goals in the last three games after going through one of the worst stretches of his career. The last one which made it 5-3 gags him 100 for his career. It’s always nice to see him contribute. In what may very well be the swan song for Zucc, he’s finishing strong.
Mika Zibanejad also had another strong game. He recorded a season high three assists. He played well centering Chris Kreider and Jesper Fast again. It seems like his overall play has improved since the line adjustment by coach Alain Vigneault. He scored his 20th in a shootout loss to the Panthers. A game the team deserved to win.
Despite the shot discrepancy, there was a lot to like. The top three lines continue to show chemistry and be cohesive. Even though Kevin Hayes didn’t register a point, his line with Ryan Spooner and Zuccarello looked good. Zuccarello’s first goal came on a rebound of a wide carom of a Neal Pionk shot. His second came from Spooner with Darling pulled for a extra man.
Buchnevich played one of his better games. He was very involved throughout tallying three assists. He seems to be fitting in with his Russian comrade Vladdy Daddy and Vesey. They definitely make things happen five-on-five. Namestnikov is a strong even strength player. His most impressive play was in the defensive zone when he spun off a Cane and drew a hooking penalty. A very good play by a 200 foot player who’s a superb skater. His goal was a redirect of a Buchnevich shot on the power play.
Also having good nights were Pionk and Tony DeAngelo. It was a good win that fans could get excited about. Sure. Every win hurts their overall chances at the Rasmus Dahlin sweepstakes. But it wasn’t gonna be that high to begin with.
Let’s enjoy it.