VANCOUVER – Seven days earlier when the Rangers lost to the Canucks at home, Alain Vigneault was critical of his team for having “non-existent” execution with no player having more than a “‘C’ game.”
Tuesday’s first period had a similar feel, the ice seemingly on tilt with all the time Vancouver spent in the Rangers’ zone, but this finish was far different. Henrik Lundqvist stood tall, especially early, and his teammates rewarded him by taking advantage of some quality chances on the other end in a 7-2 victory at Rogers Arena. It is the ninth time the Rangers (13-4) have scored at least five goals this season.
Lundqvist, who allowed two goals in brief relief last Tuesday against the Canucks while Antti Raanta was checked for a concussion, made 36 saves, 17 of which came in that first period when the Canucks generated a plethora of chances. J.T. Miller and Kevin Hayes each scored twice and lead the team with 17 and 16 points, respectively. Mats Zuccarello had a goal and two assists.
The Rangers are 3-0 on this four-game road trip, which finishes Friday in Columbus, and have won eight of their last nine games.
Vancouver kept firing away and Lundqvist wouldn’t relent in the first before Miller tipped in Mats Zuccarello’s pass from the boards off a rush with 1:18 left of the first to put the Rangers up 1-0.
Hayes’ slapper from the top of the left circle in transition beat Canucks goalie Jacob Markstrom at 9:08 of the second. Brandon Pirri cleaned up a rebound off a Mika Zibanejad shot on a power play at 14:38 of the period. Nick Holden scored the Rangers’ second power-play goal late in the third.
After Brandon Sutter’s late second-period goal cut the Rangers’ lead to two, they scored twice within 42 seconds early in the third to take a commanding lead. Hayes finished on a breakaway after Jesper Fast stole the puck in the defensive zone and put Hayes through. Miller then finished in front off feeds from Zuccarello and Zibanejad in the corner. Fast and Zibanejad each had two assists.
Henrik Lundqvist stood tall, especially early.
(Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)
Earlier Tuesday Vigneault had no update on the condition of Chris Kreider, who left Edmonton on Sunday to be evaluated for an upper-body issue.
“(Kreider) is in the process right now of going through the evaluation,” Vigneault said. “We don’t have a further update than I’ve given you, but I’m hoping that in the next 48 hours we should have an update.”
Asked if Kreider had gone through concussion protocol, Vigneault said “Right now I’ve got no update on anything. We’re just waiting. He’s getting evaluated, and when we know more we’ll let you know.”
Pavel Buchnevich missed his second straight game with back spasms and is day to day while Boo Nieves made his NHL debut.
The team is lucky the injury list didn’t grow Tuesday as Derek Stepan and Fast each went to the locker room at different points after blocking shots, but both players returned.
Source: NY Daily News Headlines Sports News