I could rant about how the Rangers let up on the forecheck and offensive zone pressure after going up 3-0. I could go off on sloppy defensive zone coverage in the final two minutes that allowed Boston to score two late goals with an extra attacker.
It was an ugly final ten minutes of regulation and John Tortorella is going to make sure the entire locker room is aware of how unacceptable that was. But realistically speaking, over the course of a season a blown lead like this is going to happen to even the best teams. What's ultimately important in the long run is two things. First, the Rangers came into Boston and completely outplayed one of the better teams in the league to the point of frustration for 50 out of 60 minutes. What we can also take away is the mental fortitude of the Rangers, who very easily could have collapsed much like they did in the infamous Montreal game of a few years ago. Instead, they applied the pressure again in overtime, got the job done in the shootout, and can ultimately move on with the two points. It shouldn't have gotten to that point, but it did. And what's done is done. Hopefully it serves as a learning experience and reinforces the need to stick to the gameplan for all 60 minutes. In the end, it's two points, and six wins in the last eight games for the now surging Rangers. Let's go through some of my post-game thoughts.
Rick Nash: It seems that Gaborik and Nash take turns on being the best forward on the team. Right now appears to be Nash's time. For the second game in a row he was, in my opinion, the best forward on the ice. The play he made to assist Hagelin's opening goal is something that maybe four or five other players in the league are capable of pulling off. Allen Iverson would have been jealous of how badly he broke Ference's ankles with the inside-out deke, and the vision and poise he possessed to move the puck to Hagelin while basically faceplanting was incredible. The statsheet doesn't speak much of Nash's effort tonight; three shots, a minus-one rating, and one assist. But stats don't translate very well to importance in hockey. He made the best assist we're going to see this season, rang a shot off the post, and made Rask look silly in the shootout.
Carl Hagelin: After a slow start to the season he is really picking up his game. He had a wide open net to shoot at thanks to Nash's effort, but getting into a position to score is as important as anything. He really utilized his speed tonight and Boston struggled to contain him on their backchecks. The Rangers' offense is at its best when they're putting high pressure on the opposing team, and Hagelin's speed and tenacity make him as integral to that as just about anybody on the roster. Hagelin is never going to be a superstar or gamebreaker. He just does his job well. Go after the deep pucks, battle hard, and put a few pucks in the net along the way.
Dan Girardi: It's hard to really single out defensemen because we just have so many productive ones. Staal and McDonagh were fantastic as usual and Del Zotto and Stralman were also solid as well. Tonight I'll highlight Girardi's play because, since his return, equillibrium seems to have returned. His presence means that Tortorella doesn't have to force a Del Zotto or Stralman into a less comfortable situation. He was The Blockness Monster tonight, breaking up all sorts of passes and shots; especially in the slot. The entire Bruins lineup blocked nine shots tonight. Dan Girardo alone blocked seven. That seems almost impossible but it's what the statsheet dictates. On top of that he gets an assist, three shots, and four hits. Girardi was at his best tonight.
Derek Stepan: Welcome to the 2013 NHL season. Boyle was chosen as the forward Tortorella decided to make an example out of, but in truth Derek Stepan could have been in the pressbox instead. He seems to sense the urgency, though, and has been much better the past few games. Tonight was his best game in a while. He was decisive in choosing to shoot but at the same time was patient enough to draw Rask enough to the near post to open the far post shot. Joe Micheletti briefly mentioned this tonight and it's probably the biggest difference between Derek Stepan when he entered the league and Derek Stepan now; In his rookie season, Derek Stepan was statistically the worst center in the NHL on faceoffs, winning only 38.5% of them. Tonight he was 9-for-17 in the circle (52.9%) despite going up against a great center in Patrice Bergeron many times. For the season, he's now at 51.9%, which is above average. That's an incredibly steep improvement and is a big reason why John Tortorella has decided to keep him in the middle despite flirting with him as a winger the last couple of seasons.
Did The Rangers Screw Up A Line Change Tonight?: Yes.
That's about it. Again, ugly end of the game but ultimately you have to give some credit to Boston for that last ditch effort and you have to also be satisfied with how the Rangers played for 90% of the game tonight on the road against a very good team. Six wins in the last eight, including three straight. After a turbulent start to the season, the Rangers have finally caught their bearings, have recaptured their identity, and are starting to gain serious momentum.
Thanks to the win tonight the Rangers are now 5-0-0 for games this season in which Kevin DeLury does not write the post-game article. I'm not endorsing anything, but just for educational purposes I feel you would be interested in knowing that Carbon Monoxide is toxic, easy to make, and effective. Again, educational purposes only.
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I didn't get to watch this one. I've seen the highlights. That Nash pass to Hags was frickin amazing.
Curious how the 4th line did. What kind of minutes for those guys, were they helping out?
How did J.T. Miller look? Any more confidence he might stick around?
@AG_Blue Miller wasn't as outstanding last night as he's been, but I'd be surprised if he gets sent back.
@Beckfan5 Disagree, it was because they stopped skating.
@KevinDeLury Disagree all you want.
If they don't lose those battles deep in their zone, if someone goes after Lucic after he decided to have his way with Nash then maybe they don't squander a 3 goal lead.
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@kicker75 really you thought richards and gaborik were effective tonight? I thought both of them were invisible, and the 4th line had a bigger impact on the game.
@slapshot13j @kicker75 I agree. That line did nothing. I also don't think Gaborik is ever the best forward on the team. Yes, he scores goals in streaks and this team needs goals, but he also makes mistakes in the defensive zone and never makes anyone else better. On the Hagelin goal, Gaborik would have shot the puck instead on passing it. Nash knew exactly where his line mate was. Nash is the best forward on this team. I don't think it is even close, other than Callahan.
@IcyCup yeah but what happened to the BIG line - Ritchie and Gabby the ghost were nowhere to be seen?!?
Fun fact: I was just looking through old drafts and realized that we traded Messier in June 2003 to the Sharks for "future consideration". That future consideration became the 3rd to last pick in the 4th round of the 2004 draft. That pick was Ryan Callahan (#127). We traded captain for captain. What a steal.
Again, it's all subjective so everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion, but for what it's worth the consensus from Bruins fans seems to be that, while they're proud of the comeback effort and feel they deserved the point for it, the Rangers were the better team for the majority of the game tonight.
Yeah, Rangers outplayed them tonight, and while I agree with most participants here, I need to toss this in, regardless of the outcome of this game...sidebar, Kev, great job with the blog, great support from the other writers to give you some time for you and your family and how can you quit with 6000 Twitter followers hangin' on every word? Now my point, while 33Z is running around crosschecking us in the face and that gorilla Lucic is bangin' on Hank in the crease after he got hurt on the Horton shot, and inserting his stick in McD's tonsils, and that twerp Marchand is breaking his sticks across our backs, will this stop next year when Mcilrath is here, because I've had it...
@PsychJukebox Exactly what I was thinking! The whole game, while we played well, we looked like we were getting pushed around. That Lucic hack on Hank was ridiculous, and I was furious when no one stepped up to Lucic after that. Maybe it wasn't seen at the time. Can't complain when we're starting to roll like we are, but you bet Pruster would've been in Lucic's face after that nonsense. Overall we played well but looked like we got pushed around a bit too much. I don't think we'd be able to survive a 7-game series with Boston if it came to it at this point. Need some more grit.
@PsychJukebox Appreciate the support, even if it was mostly directed at Kevin ;)I don't think we're going to see McIlrath at the start of next season and perhaps not at all. Big, physical defensemen take the longest to develop out of anyone (aside from goaltenders) so, while it's not impossible, it's unlikely he'll be ready, I think. And I'm a big supporter of his. As for the whole toughness and protecting the team thing, I agree that perhaps the Rangers let the Bruins get away with a little bit too much tonight. That being said, they weren't completely submissive by any means. The other end of the spectrum is falling hard for Boston's bait and taking penalties or generating energy for them in their comeback effort. It's a fine line and a balance is necessary. You don't want to let the other team walk all over you but you also don't want to give the other team momentum or powerplays. Not saying you're necessarily wrong that we should have stood up to it a bit more. I'm just saying that it's very difficult to find the right balance.
@Herman_NYRBlog @PsychJukebox I'd go as far as to say you were wrong. Most of those cheapies happened after we were up 2-0 and rolling them. You either drop the mitts right away or scoreboard them. Since no one was interested in slugging from our boys, you take your shots and continue winning.
Plus, no one really fucks with Chara dude. Nose-Face Killah should catch a beating though... and I love that little shit
Safe is death for the last 10 minutes....I hope the rest of the team notices how Girardi played with a chip on his shoulder tonight. Thats what Cally, Dubi, Prust and Feds brought to the team last year and is the missing piece so far this year. Im not saying we need Dubi, Prust or Feds back. The guys we have now are fully capable of playing like that and are slowly getting there.
I totally made the Shaquille O'Neal at the NBA Slam Dunk contest face when Nash scored that shootout goal.
Nash was absolutely sick. He's making Hags looking AWESOME. Just a SICK assist and he made Rask look absolutely RETARDED in the shootout. He should even be on ESPN Top 10 twice tonight.
just read on the MSG crawl that JD fired GM scott howson. douche bag did a HORRIBLE job. surprised he lasted as long as he did.
@shishya100 True, but he made tons of mistakes tonight. Missing passes, fanning on passes, extended shifts...
@shishya100 Love that he found a way to get involved. Concerned that he didn't register a shot on goal and was 2-for-9 on faceoffs but he is a 19-year old playing against the hottest team in the East, so what do I know.
Nash was filthy tonight. I thought the game was evenly matched most of the way hank outplayed rask for 50 minutes but he wasn't making amazing saves or anything a couple bad rebounds. A lot of fanned shots tonight. I'm not superstitious and I miss delury's recap in blue italics,
@judson12 Trust me, I'll have enough of mine up. But these guys doing the recaps really helps me out sometimes. Will keep me from another burnout which almost had me shutting the blog down last year.
completely outplayed for 50 of 60 minutes?.... not so fast there Adam. Hank out played Boston not the entire NYR team. Hank stole this game in regulation and during the shoot out. Thankfully he's hitting his royal stride and making those huge stops. He get's first star and Nash second - third star goes to Boston's relentless hard body checks- we were out hit for the most part and then the wheels come off at the end. when it's 3-1 I said to my wife it's time to shut this game down and play strong D infront of Hank - that dod not happen. Mad scrambles -desperate plays - some nice work by Girardi and McD and even Staal but we needed to be better and close that out in regulation!
@chrisD I'm with Adam. Thought they had game in hand throughout. This game was really no different than last year. Lean on Hank, play bend don't break defense and score some clutch goals. That's how this team wins. Although last year, without Nash, not sure they pull this one out.