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Rangers ride strong first minute to win over Buffalo

March 3, 2021, 7:56 PM ET [487 Comments]
Jan Levine
New York Rangers Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
The Rangers were just good enough to win last night, 3-2 over the Sabres. A wild first minute of the game was New York’s main highlight, as they scored two of their three goals for the game, allowing one of the two they surrendered. The remainder of the game held a few pockets of sustained activity, but nothing significant enough to hold your hat on, despite the win. An ugly victory is better than a pretty loss and NY has another chance to even their record Thursday against New Jersey

If there is a positive to take from the game, it was the play of the first line. Mika Zibanejad showed some signs of life, outplaying the apple of the MSG crowd, Jack Eichel, but the jury is still far out on what we get this season. Pavel Buchnevich had a goal and an assist, giving him 15 points in the season. Alexis Lafreniere extended his point streak to three, notching his second marker, going to the dirty area, of the season. If you want add in another, it was seeing Chris Kreider coming down the wing and just releasing the puck. No thought deking, just use the screen and shoot, maybe you get lucky, and he did.

One other positive, which is pretty much a recurring theme, is the play of Adam Fox and Ryan Lindgren. I know Fox’s name has come up in proposed Jakc Eichel deals. My view? No, no, hell no and no. Is that clear enough. As good as Eichel is, the Blueshirts have a potentially future elite first line, do almost everything blueliner on an entry level contract. The value there is off the charts and we all believe he is just scratching the surface of how good he will be. Plus he may have his pair mate for years to come, presuming his face heals from all the bruises and cuts.

The team does have a lot of holes. But given all the absences this past month and work that still needs to be done, it could be a whole lot worse. The bottom six has been put into positions that are not suited. New York’s top six has been a mish mash and blue line a work in progress. Too often, they are not up foe a game or falter during a contest. Yet, despite all this, as Carp noted, “they’ve won four of six and are 7-5-2 in their last 14. Plus they’ve followed each of their last three losses with a win.” Small silver linings.

Thursday could make the return of Kaapo Kakko from his COVID absence. Filip Chytil now has a game under his best. Jacob Trouba might be back in a week or so, my guess, nothing substantive to back it up, but just based on reading the tea leaves. Artemi Panarin is skating, so hopefully he so staying in some shape, but that doesn’t mean he is coming back any time soon.

Win on Thursday on the road in New Jersey and New York is back to 9-9-3. Beyond that is five lore road games, NJ, PIT, PIT, BOS and BOS. Those contests are followed by a pair at home against Philly and then two on the road at Washington. Not an easy stretch. After that run, we will have a better idea of where this team is, as they will be just past the halfway mark, and how the rest of the season is to be handled.

I would roll with Igor against Thursday, as he was very solid Tuesday. Let him get on a roll and only rest him if needed. New York has won consecutive games only three times so far this season, will Thursday be the fourth?

Sorry for the delay in the blogs. Work has been insane and dealing with some family stuff. Thanks for carrying the blogs.

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