After the trade deadline, there was one clear success factor for the New York Rangers that most fans agreed with. The Rangers’ superstars needed to do their jobs for the Blueshirts to have any playoff success. After all, blame will start with the best, rarely with the depth of the list. This is why these people are on the team and/or acquired on deadline. So far, Rangers superstars do just that, and then some.
Acquisitions appear at trade deadlines in a big way
Patrick Kane and Vladimir Tarasenko are the two big names the Rangers added at the deadline. From just their offensive productions, they both do exactly what they’ve been acquired to do. Kane had a goal and three assists in two games, dominating Game 2 after an “average” Game 1 where he had “only” two assists. To be fair, Kane looked sluggish and had some bad turnovers, but he still had the assists in the first 5-1 win.
Meanwhile, Tarasenko owns half of Kane’s points, but has opened the scoring for the Rangers in both games. Tarasenko got to be that sniper, and not only does he score, but he does it at the right time. His Game 1 goal may have set the tone for the entire series. His frustrating goal in Game 2 showed the Rangers weren’t going to just roll over and die. They were killing themselves.
The focus has been on Rangers stars since Deadline, but don’t discount what Nico Mikkola has done for Rangers so far. Already with one help, Mikkola settled on the lower pair and played for it Approximately 50% xG share. Most importantly, he has set the Devils’ high-risk attack to 12.66 high-risk chances per 60 minutes, good for third among Rangers defenders.
Other Rangers stars dominate
Chris Crider, usually a divisive player, has been one of the Rangers’ star players to take over games. With the Devils cheating off the wing for once, Kreider was feeding the powerplay in front of the net. The best solo forward presence in the league has four powerplay goals so far, and the Devils simply don’t have an answer for it.
Adam Fox is clearly the best player on the ice for both teams, and has a team leading by six points in the playoffs. He and Creeder share a powerplay to destroy any semblance of a demon-slaying penalty. Tweaks will likely come from the Devils, especially for Game 3 where the Devils know they need to win, and Fox was up to the task.
Meanwhile, it all came with “only” two points from Artemi Panarin and just one point from Mika Zibanejad. Naturally, neither of them will be tied down in this way for long, just as Kreider won’t go on to score two goals a game and Tarasenko won’t go on to score every opening goal. When one group of Rangers superstars hit a few games without multiple points, the others will advance.
The story of the Rangers stars so far has been that of the Blues. As long as this story continues to be positive, the Rangers will have a chance at something great. It’s only been two games and there’s a long way to go, but so far, so good.