Instead of the hockey scores, we’re seeing baseball scores and even football scores from the New York Rangers. On Tuesday night, they continue their impressive start to the season by defeating the St. Louis Blues 5-0.
It was the 60th shutout in the career of Henrik Lundqvist who joined, Martin Brodeur, Patrick Roy, Terry Sawchuk, Jacques Plante, Dominik Hasek, Ed Belfour, Tony Esposito, Glenn Hall, and Roberto Luongo as the 10th goalie in history to have at least 350 wins and 60 shutouts in his career.
The Rangers are now 7-3-0 on the young season but the most impressive mark is the plus-18 goal differential through ten games thus far (40 goals for, 22 against). Pretty impressive for a team no one really knew where they were going to be this season given all the new faces. They have successfully passed two early tests this season; defeating a very talented Lightening and Blues team. Both teams who year in and year out are usually at the top of their respective conferences.
The Blueshirts early success comes from the balanced line-up they have put out there. It involved tons of speed. They are getting contributions from all over. In a game where the Rangers put up more than three goals, they all came from different players. Jimmy Vesey picked up his sixth goal of the season which leads all rookies. Rick Nash picked up his fifth of the season as did Mats Zuccarello and Kevin Hayes picked up his third.
The power play, in years’ past was considered by many Rangers fans as the fastest two minutes in sports. They would struggle to score. Not this year. The Rangers were 2-for-6 (8:29) on the power play in tonight’s game. The Blueshirts have tallied at least one power play goal in five of the last six games and in seven of 10 contests thus far in 2016-17.
The way they moved the puck tonight was pure magic and don’t be surprised if it makes some “top-10” lists.
Vesey is looking very comfortable whenever he is on the ice. “I’m starting to really get confident out there and try some things I might not have tried a couple games ago,” Vesey went on to say. “I think confidence is everything in this game and right now it’s high and I am riding that.”
Playing with Rick Nash and Derek Stepan is another contributing factor to his early season success, “I’m just trying to observe them every day, how hard they work at the rink. They always bring the right work ethic and attitude into the locker room. Like I’ve said before, we are always communicating and now they are telling me to try new things or where to be on the ice. It’s just been so easy to play with them so far.”
Chris Kreider, who, returned from injury after missing four games kept it simple when it came up about the team scoring this many goals, “You need depth. Good teams in this league roll four lines so it’s huge for us going forward.”
The Blueshirts do know this isn’t something you will see constantly each game but they are making the most of it. With many games coming up in November virtually every other day, they know they have to continue to be better and build on the mistakes. Although there hasn’t been many thus far.
The next opponent is the equally red-hot Edmonton Oilers who will enter Madison Square Garden on Thursday night with an overall 7-2-1 record on the season. It’s a tough task ahead but if the Rangers can continue to roll off Sunday and today, it should be no problem right?