The kids were alright in the New York Rangers’ 3-2 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Saturday night. The Blueshirts bounced back quickly after a shootout loss to the Florida Panthers, and it was amazing to see with a lineup full of skill could accomplish. Adam Clendening was in for Steven Kampfer, and Pavel Buchnevich replaced Tanner Glass. The line of Jimmy Vesey, Oscar Lindberg and Buchnevich were fun to watch, and each tallied at least a point in the victory. Here’s a look at the Game Score chart from the victory and the three stars of the night from the Rangers’ perspective.
1.) Oscar Lindberg | 2.27
Once again Lindberg reprised the role of Mr. Efficiency by putting up a major performance with minor minutes. The Rangers’ young pivot skated under 10 minutes vs. the Wild but tallied a goal and an assist. Lindberg also finished with a team-best +6 rating in 5v5 Corsi differential.
Lindberg also finished with a team-best +6 rating in 5v5 Corsi differential. The goal was Lindberg’s fifth of the season and the assist was his 10th for a total of 15 points in 54 games played. He’s been making the most of his playing time and seemed to have great chemistry with Buchnevich and Vesey. It would be wise of Alain Vigneault to keep the line together because it features skill, the ability to drive possession and contribute offensively.
2.) Brady Skjei | 1.43
He isn’t going to get it, but man does Brady Skjei deserve some love for the Calder Trophy. The Blueshirts’ rookie defender had an amazing performance against the Wild in a barn he grew up playing in. The Lakeville, Minnesota native tallied his fourth goal of the season and his 33rd point overall. He continues to show a level of offensive ability that far exceeds any expectations that were placed on him heading into the 2016-17 season.
In under 17 minutes, he was the Rangers’ top defender and he finished with a second-best 5v5 Corsi differential of +4. Skjei has been played on all three pairings and has seen time on both the right and left side. Skjei continues to produce results and he’s matured at an unexpected rate this season. The Rangers really have something special and he’s got the makings of being a true stud for years to come.
3.) Jimmy Vesey | 1.15
The 2016-17 season has been an up and down one for Vesey. The Rangers’ rookie got off to a hot start and went through a cooling period around the midpoint of the season. It almost seemed as if Vesey was burnt out from the aggressive nature of an NHL schedule. Against the Wild he scored for the first time in 14 games, and it was his 15th of the season overall.
The Rangers knew Vesey was a talented player, and there was a reason they made a big effort to sign him when he hit free agency. It isn’t easy to score at the NHL level, and there are a lot of reasons to be happy with how he’s played to date. He has some growing to do with the defensive side of his game, but that’s something that will come with experience and coaching. What Vesey does have is pure skill and creativity, as well as some exceptional vision which is something that you just can’t teach.
The Rangers’ next game is on Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. vs. the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ.