The New York Rangers are heading back to Madison Square Garden in a 2-0 hole when the series should be tied at 1-1. New York had a two-goal lead late in the third period, but Alain Vigneault thought it was a good idea to rotate his first and second pairings while leaving Brady Skjei and Brendan Smith stapled to the bench. This strategy was used in Game 2 of the first round, and it looks like Vigneault didn’t learn from that mistakes. The game ultimately ended on a 2-on-1 goal in double overtime on a chance created by an ill-advised pinch by Nick Holden.
The Rangers finished the series against the Montreal Canadiens in strong form, but now they appear to have an identity crisis. The good news is that the series is shifting back to New York, and hopefully, the Rangers will find themselves again.
Here’s a look at the team through the lens of Game Score.
1.) Brady Skjei | 2.34
Skjei had the game of his career, and it is one he won’t remember because of the loss. Defensively Skjei held his own outside of a few plays early in the game, and his best play of the game was breaking up a 3-on-1 chance before heading up the ice to score his second goal of the game.
Skjei logged just about 23 minutes over five periods, and it was a mistake that Vigneault didn’t utilize him more.
2.) Mika Zibanejad | 2.30
Zibanejad had another solid game against his former team, and he was one of the Rangers’ top forwards. He finished the game with two assists, two shots on goal and a team-best 5v5 Corsi differential of +11. Zibanejad was also solid between the circles with a faceoff differential of +6. One of his assists was on Chris Kreider’s first goal of the playoffs, and he was very happy to help him get the monkey off his back.
many requests for this. sorry i did not post earlier. (i fell asleep. i might be sleep GIFing right now) pic.twitter.com/c41rzSrzHf
— steph (@myregularface) April 29, 2017
3.) Ryan McDonagh | 2.05
McDonagh was the Blueshirts’ second best defender against the Senators and logged just about 35 minutes during the game. McDonagh tallied two assists, two shots on goal and blocked five shots on the evening. The Rangers’ captain also led defenders with a 5v5 Corsi differential of +8.
Game 3 is scheduled for Tuesday May 2 at 7:00 p.m. at Madison Square Garden.