The New York Rangers scored three power-play goals and lost. It was one of those nights for the Blueshirts, and they are going to want to forget about what happened in the third period. It is fair to say New York was jobbed when the officiating crew upheld a goal that was challenged for interference, but the play was a bit sloppy, and the personnel decisions were even stranger.
Tanner Glass was moved up to the top line in place of Pavel Buchnevich late in the game and was on the ice as an extra attacker with Antti Raanta pulled. On that note, here are the three stars of the night and the BB Game Score chart.
1.) Derek Stepan | 2.32
Man oh man is Derek Stepan snakebitten. The Rangers’ alternate captain has now gone 23 games without a goal, but you can’t say he isn’t trying. Stepan tallied two assists in the loss, had a 5v5 Corsi differential of +7 and took 10 shots! That doesn’t include the post he hit late in the third period. This was one of those cliche nights in which the player did everything but score. That applies to Stepan, and it is easy to see how the frustration is building.
2.) Chris Kreider | 2.15
The 2016-17 campaign has been a breakout year for Kreider, and it is fair to say he is now among the elite power forwards of the NHL. He’s come a long way since joining the Rangers out of Boston College, and he tallied his 26th goal of the season vs. Carolina.
The Blueshirts’ stud winger also picked up an assist and finished with a 5v5 Corsi differential of +5 for good measure. From a consistency standpoint, Kreider has been one of the Rangers’ best players this season, and it is great that general manager Jeff Gorton signed him to a reasonable four-year contract in the offseason. Had Kreider been bridged he would have no problem asking for a contract starting at $5.5 million. The Rangers are lucky to have him signed at $4.625 million per season.
3.) Mika Zibanejad | 1.18
Mika Zibanejad got off to a slow start when he returned from injury, and as a result, the offense wasn’t there for him. In recent games he has turned it on in a big way and he added two goals vs. the Hurricanes.
Zibanejad was in the right place and the right time for both of his goals, and that’s exactly what the Rangers need from him on the power play. On the season Zibanejad has 11 goals and 16 assists for 27 points in 41 games. To contrast, Derick Brassard, the player he was traded for, has 12 goals and 22 assists for 34 points in 65 games. Clearly the Rangers made the right decision considering Zibanejad is 23 whereas Brassard turns 30 in September.
The Rangers’ next game is on Sunday March 12 at 7:00 p.m. vs. the Detroit Red Wings. It will be the Blueshirts’ last game at Joe Louis Arena.