Steve Zipay takes you inside the locker room, home and on the road, with the New York Rangers, and also writes about the NHL, off and on the ice.
Post-Game: NYR win 2nd straight, blanking Sabres 2-0
Some comments and quotes and stats that did not make the paper, so you have ‘em here, as usual…Nobody sleeps yet…
There’s a sense of growing confidence in the Rangers’ room, not swagger, because the goals are still tough to come by, but things appear to be coming together.
The healthy scratch against Philadelphia on Oct. 24 has spurred Mats Zuccarello to another level in his past four games. He has a goal and two assists, and tonight have five shots and blocked two, one that saved an early goal. More from him tomorrow….
Playing with Kreider and Stepan has helped. “Kreids is a big body, fast, strong” and Step is one of the smartest players there is. He reads the game really well and is a good passer. It’s going well right now, but we have to stay humble, it’s just hard work.”
Ryan McDonagh, who registered an assist and has three points in four games: “There’s good chemistry as far as where pucks are going. We were pretty simple against this team and worked them down low.”
Henrik Lundqvist: “We were looking for our game a little bit (on the road) and were were playing the best team in the league at the time and we got exposed a little bit, but we are finding our game more and trusting each other more and that’s a big thing. We need to continue to improve but it’s looking better and better.”
And remember, captain Ryan Callahan will miss Saturday’s game against Carolina here and Monday’s against Anaheim, but should be back in seven to ten days. No downside in that.
Matt Moulson, who had seven goals in his past seven games with the Sabres and Islanders, was kept off the scoreboard. Likewise for Cody Hodgson, who had three goals and four points in his past five games.
“They moved their feet, they worked hard,” said Moulson. “We didn't move our feet the first two periods, the third period, we created chances. Not taking anything away from their game, but it's tough to beat anyone when you're not moving your feet. They created a lot of chances. Millsie kept us in it, he made some extraordinary saves. It could have been more than 2-0. He gave us a chance to be in the game, but we just tried to get it going too late.
The Rangers are 3-0-0 when leading after the second period…With the win, Alain Vigneault moved to 28th on the all-time coaching points list with 950 in 818 games… Marc Staal (19:57) played in his 400th game; Dan Girardi, his (500th)…J.T. Miller’s point, an assist, was his first of the season.
It helped that the Rangers stayed out of the box. Outside of Brandon Mashinter, playing for the injured Dominic Moore, exchanging a flurry of blows in a quick square-off with Cody McCormick just 3:16 into the game and Michael Del Zotto’s trip at 18:00 of the first, the Blueshirts used speed and positioning to avoid infractions.
Cam Talbot played Tuesday on Long Island and made 27 saves in the 3-2 win. It is unclear who will play against Carolina on Saturday, although Lundqvist, who is still the No. 1 goaltender, would seem to be the choice.
“It was a back-to-back,” Vigneault said earlier today in explaining his choice of netminders on Tuesday. “Maybe 10 to 15 percent was that Hank was coming off an injury; it had more to do that Cam was playing real well.” Vigneault said he had no concerns about managing Lundqvist’s time going forward: “He’s fine.”