The New York Rangers continued their recent skid on home ice with a 3-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Blueshirts failed to capitalize on some chances, and the Lightning made the most of the 16 shots they put on net toward Antti Raanta. It is hard to fault Raanta as one of the goals was via brilliant execution on the power play and the other two came off two excellent tips in front of the net. Overall the Rangers did some very good things against the Lightning, but it wasn’t enough to secure two points. Here’s how the team finished in Game Score.
1.) Mats Zuccarello | 1.73
Zuccarello had a strong game for the Rangers logging just under 19 minutes. The Rangers’ spark plug tallied an assist, three shots on goal and a tied for team best +10 in 5v5 Corsi differential. He was a real Honey Badger on loose pucks scrapping and clawing to maintain possession and strip it away from Tampa Bay. He also drew a penalty for the Blueshirts, and he continues to be one of the Rangers more consistent players game-to-game.
2.) Chris Kreider | 1.43
Once again Kreider was one of the Rangers’ best skaters, and it should come at the surprise of no one. The Rangers’ power forward has taken his game to a new level this season, and he has finally shown an ability to put his skills together in a cohesive way on a consistent basis. He was all over the puck with a 5v5 Corsi differential of +1. He also fired three shots on goal while picking up an assist for good measure. With an assist vs. Tampa, Kreider now has 26 goals and 22 assists for 48 points in 64 games. His previous high in points was 46 in 80 games during the 2014-15 season. More importantly, Kreider has scored at least 17 goals or more over the last four seasons, including 21 or more in three consecutive seasons.
3.) Steven Kampfer | 1.23
In 140 career games, Steven Kampfer has 10 goals and 15 assists for 25 points. He’s a journeyman defender not known for his offense, but he picked up goal No. 10, his first as a member of the New York Rangers, against Tampa.
The goal was his first since the 2014-15 season, and at the time he was still skating as a member of the Florida Panthers. In addition to his goal, Kampfer played a solid 5v5 possession game finishing with a Corsi differential of +8 which was second-best among defenders behind Brady Skjei. Thus far Kampfer is making a strong case to earn consideration as a potential replacement for Kevin Klein going forward because he can play a responsible game in his own zone while finding ways to maintain possession for the Rangers. He is a quality third-pairing defender, and his price tag is considerably less than the $2.9 million Klein is earning in a similar role.
Honorable Mention: Michael Grabner | 1.12
Grabner picked up his team-leading 27th goal of the season against Tampa.
It was Grabner’s second game back in the lineup after missing the previous five games with a hip injury. He needs three more goals to hit the 30-goal mark for the first time since scoring 34 for the New York Islanders during the 2010-11 season.
The Rangers’ next game is Friday March 17 at Madison Square Garden vs. the Florida Panthers at 7:00 p.m.