Blueshirt Bulletin Game Score Report: Panthers 4, Rangers 3

In Blueshirt Bulletin Main Blog, NHL Stats by Tom Urtz Jr

The New York Rangers returned to action after a lengthy layoff and were defeated by a score of 4-3. The Rangers’ loss to the Florida Panthers was the team’s sixth consecutive at Madison Square Garden and the team’s second straight loss against a team based out of the Sunshine state. New York got out to an early 2-0 lead in the first period, allowed three unanswered goals and tied the game in the third period. The game went to a shootout, and the Rangers were unable to find twine. Statistically, a number of players had strong performances while others can be described as just “meh.” Here is the Game Score chart from the loss and the three stars of the evening from the Blueshirts’ perspective.

NYR vs FLA 3.17.17

1.) Brendan Smith | 1.88

Smith had his best game as a member of the Rangers to date against the Panthers, and he is starting to look more comfortable in all areas of the ice. He isn’t known for his offense, but he stepped up with two primary assists against Florida, both of which were on goals scored by Mats Zuccarello. In addition to the assists, Smith fired a shot on goal, blocked a shot and led the Rangers’ defense in 5v5 Corsi differential with a +4.

Smith’s effort against the Panthers was as complete as it has been since the Rangers acquired him, and he’s making a case to be re-signed in the offseason.

2.) Mats Zuccarello |1.57

Zuccarello had a sound offensive game vs. Florida with two goals on two shots.

In addition to his offensive contributions, the Rangers’ spark plug also got down and blocked a shot. Zuccarello was also one of the better forwards in the possession battle even though he carried a negative rating overall. The goals were Zuccarello’s 49th and 50th points of the season, and doing so allowed him to reach another milestone.

It is a shame the Rangers’ “Frodo from MODO” couldn’t tally a third goal because I had the perfect styled headline. It would have gone something like “St. Paddy’s Day? More like St. Hatty’s Day for Zuccarello and the Rangers.”

3.) Derek Stepan | 1.23

Stepan had a very strong game for the Rangers and was robbed numerous times by James Reimer. The Rangers’ alternate captain recently snapped a 23-game scoring drought, and he’s still hungry to find the back of the net. Stepan fired six shots on goal, was second among forwards with a +3 5v5 Corsi rating and was the Rangers’ best man at the faceoff circle. Stepan won 14 of 20 draws and had a team-best +8 differential in that department.

The Rangers’ next game is tonight at 7:00 p.m. vs. the Minnesota Wild at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota.