The New York Rangers bounced back in a huge way with a 4-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators at Madison Square Garden. After watching Game 3 and the end of Game 2, a thought crossed my mind about a song that debuted in 2000. Here are the first few bars.
♫ May I have your attention please?
Will the real Slim Shady please stand up?
I repeat will the real Slim Shady please stand up?
We’re going to have a problem here ♫
The Rangers of Game 3 were not the Rangers of Game 2. In that respect, may I have your attention, please? Will the real New York Rangers stand up? I repeat, will the real New York Rangers please stand up. If the real Rangers, Game 3’s version, don’t show up for the remainder of the series, we’re going to have a problem here.
The biggest difference was deployment on defense, and head coach Alain Vigneault got real for a change in regards to who his best defenders are.
Here is what AV had to say in regards to playing time a day after Game 2’s loss.
#NYR Vigneault on Skjei usage: "Mins are based on how you're playing & what you're doing for the team that night what your contribution is."
— Sean Hartnett (@HartnettHockey) April 30, 2017
With that said, here’s a look at performance through the lens of Game Score.
1.) Mats Zuccarello |2.12
Zucc had another fine game for the Blueshirts tallying a goal and an assist. The game opened up with Mika Zibanejad making a strong play behind the net which saw him curl toward the front. Zibanejad proceeded to distribute the puck as he was going down to his knees and Zuccarello was waiting for the pass and didn’t hesitate to snap it home. His lone assist of the game came on this nifty goal by Michael Grabner.
In addition to the offensive production, the Rangers’ heart and soul forward finished with a 5v5 Corsi differential of +4 and a goal differential of +2.
2.) Henrik Lundqvist | 1.85
Hank had an off Game 2 and despite not being the reason for the loss he put the outcome squarely on his shoulders. He wanted to be better, and was exactly that in Game 3. Lundqvist wasn’t as busy and he stopped 26 of 27 shots on goal. The lone goal came after Bobby Ryan made a nice pass from behind the net to Jean Paul Pageau for a goal. Overall Lundqvist has been the Blueshirts’ best player thus far and there is no reason to think he won’t continue to do so.
3.) Mika Zibanejad | 1.68
After the Senators clinched against the Boston Bruins one of the narratives drawn up for the series was the revisiting of the offseason trade that sent Zibanejad to New York and Derick Brassard to Ottawa. It is way too early to judge the trade, spoiler alert: the Rangers already won the trade, and this series won’t define the trade. Regardless it has been apparent how much Zibanejad has wanted to put his best foot forward against his former squad.
Zibanejad finished the evening with a primary assist, a team-high six shots on goal, a blocked shot and a solid 5v5 Corsi differential of +5.
Be sure to check out Blueshirt Bullet Points for more highlights, exclusive quotes, and information from the game.
The Rangers and Senators will meet again on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. for Game 4 at Madison Square Garden.