Quick Hits: New York Rangers at Colorado Avalanche


Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Final Score: New York Rangers – 2 Colorado Avalanche – 3 (SO)

*This Colorado Avalanche team has been just unbelievable.

*Down 2-1 with a minute remaining, Patrick Roy called his timeout to give the troops orders. It probably didn’t work out the way he drew it up, but in the end Tyson Barrie picked up a loose puck in the slot and rifled it past Henrik Lundqvist to tie the game and force overtime.

*Unless he drew it up to say, “I don’t care how you do it, just get the puck in the net,” in which case, they executed things perfectly.

*Tyson Barrie is clutch and clutch is everything in life. Along with the game tying goal, Barrie scored the only goal in the shootout to give the Avs the win. Whether he’s doing it in overtime, regulation, or the shootout; he’s getting it done.

*Semyon Varlamov deserves a lot of credit as well. He never saw the first goal by John Moore and Derek Stepan just beat him with a perfect shot on a 2-on-1, otherwise Varly was once again oustanding. He stopped 29 of 31 shots and denied Mats Zuccarello, Martin St. Louis, and Brad Richards in the shootout.

*With this win, Varly tied Patrick Roy’s record for wins at home with 24.

*If Varly doesn’t get nominated for the Vezina and Hart, something is wrong with the committee.

*Andre Benoit, who was a healthy scratch against Columbus, returned and was energized. He got the Avs on the board in the second when he jumped up into the play and showed off some nice hands around the net, getting the puck over Lundqvist on the backhand.

*The whole play was started by a nice flip pass up the boards by Ryan O’Reilly and a soft feather pass by John Mitchell to send Benoit in alone.

*I’m not sure there’s a better player in the league than O’Reilly at the flip pass. Whether he’s intending to get the puck up the ice to a teammate or just flipping it out of the zone but not deep enough for icing, he’s perfected it.

*The penalty kill was outstanding. The Rangers had five power play chances and the PK killed off all five. In fact, they didn’t even have too many good chances of sustained pressure. The Avs did a nice job denying the zone, and if the Rangers got into the zone, they pressured the puck.

*I still think a lot of the PK’s recent success can be attributed to Roy using his best players like Paul Stastny and Gabe Landeskog and not his designated killers.

*Cody McLeod went awkwardly into the boards, twisting his knee, in the second period and did not return. It definitely looked bad on replay. Hopefully it’s a minor thing because McLeod is the heart and soul of this team and the kind of guy you want in the playoffs.

*Landeskog wasn’t great in this game. His shots and passes seem to hit sticks and skates and he took three penalties. Everyone has an off night so I’m not too worried about him moving forward. It’s just when the captain has a bad game, it’s much more noticeable.

*The Avs were outstanding in the third period, outshooting the Rangers 16-3. It looked like it would be all for naught until Barrie’s goal.

*I thought the Avs did a good job taking the body as well. Brad Malone didn’t play much, but when he was out there, he made sure that the Rangers knew who he was.

*Nathan MacKinnon got rattled by Brian Boyle with a hit along the board, but shook it off and continued on. MacKinnon has shown great poise as a rookie. From the first game on teams have taken a run at him and he’s not only continued to shake it off, he’s pushed back.

*The Chicago Blackhawks won in a shootout against the Minnesota Wild to keep pace with the Avs. They are still 3 points behind with five games remaining. The Avs have six games remaining and the tiebreaker.

Next Game: at St. Louis Blues on Saturday