Rangers v Senators - Game 3 - Rangers Surge Forward (s)
Photo: David Hahn/Icon Sportswire
The New York Rangers put together a masterpiece on home ice to win game three and take back the momentum, despite still trailing 2-1 in the series.
It was the Rangers highest play-by-play contribution of the playoffs, led by their group of forwards who exceeded their playoff average by 71%, their offense by 41.8%, and raised their defensive play by a huge 116%.
The defensive performance was reminiscent of the 15/16 Penguins forwards on their run to the Stanley Cup.
Every single Ranger forward contributed above his individual playoff and regular season average.
While the Ranger forwards were at their best, the contributions of the Ranger defensemen actually decreased across the board, except for one very important and improved area, managing the puck.
Even though the Ranger d-core contributed 21% less offensively than their playoff average, their weighted turnovers decreased by a pivotal 61.4%, removing a significant burden to play defense.
If there is one number that sets the tone for Ranger defensemen, this would be it, especially when the Ranger forwards are flying on both sides of the puck.
Rangers Contribution Highlights
Mika Zibanejad led the Ranger forwards and tripled his average playoff performance, but his great game three begs the question, “Where is this level of play all the time?”
Matt Zucarello was close behind and returned to his elite level, after his first two games vs Ottawa were just ok, compared to his exceptional performance in the Montreal series.
Michael Grabner had strong game as well and is gaining momentum after he struggled in round one.
Brendan Smith led Ranger defensemen with a statement game after his lack of ice time in the third period of game two put Vigneault on the hot seat. He took a huge contribution leap from his playoff average, which highlights his extreme range of performance. In nine playoff games, he's had three strong ones, three marginal, and three stinkers. Would the real Mr Smith please step up?
Dan Girardi had similar offensive contributions as Smith, but a few minor mistakes kept their defensive contributions at a modest level.
Marc Staal was stronger defensively than both Smith and Girardi on a night when the defensemen got plenty of help from their forwards.
Ryan Mcdonagh picked a good night to post his lowest contribution since game three vs Montreal.
Ottawa Contribution Highlights
Kyle Turris and Jean-Gabriel Pageau led the Senators forwards, Turris being much stronger defensively and Pageau leading offensively.
Bobby Ryan and Derek Brassard had similar contributions followed by Mark Stone, but the rest of the Senators forwards were AWOL in game three.
Eric Karlsson had his usual strong offensive contribution but was a contributing factor on a few Ranger goals, pulling his defense down.
Cody Ceci was a distance back from Karlsson, but led the Senators d-core defensively by a wide margin.
The rest of the Senators defensemen struggled on defense, particularly Ben Harpur, but he managed the puck well and rated second behind Karlsson offensively.
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