The New York Rangers (9-8-2) used the returns of Michael Del Zotto, Ryan McDonagh and Rick Nash to defeat the Tampa Bay Lightning (9-10-1) in dominant fashion at MSG Thursday night 4-1 and end a four game losing streak. For a full box score of tonight's game, head over to Yahoo! Sports.
- To me, by far the most complete effort of the season in terms of everyone contributing in their own ways and playing to their roles. They also never stopped generating offense—an aspect that's been lacking all season long.
- None of the returning players from injury looked like they missed a beat. At all, which is remarkable to even think about. And none looked better than Rick Nash, who notched a career high 12 shots on net and made an immediate impact. A sick goal to reward his effort, as well.
- Carl Hagelin continues to impress. When you think of important players to the team's success, you have to start adding Hagelin to the conversation. If he's using his legs to create havoc on the ice and adding some goals, the Rangers are a different, more dynamic team.
- Ryan Callahan with another Ryan Callahan game. Yawn.
Continue reading for my thought's on Brad Richards' game, the improvements by Derek Stepan lately and some love for Taylor Pyatt.
- I liked Richards being placed with Nash and Hagelin tonight. It gave the struggling center a chance to feed off the energy of both players and I felt Richards had his best game in a while. Still not what he's capable of, but it's something to build upon.
- Stop traffic: The Rangers scored a power play goal tonight.
- Really feel Derek Stepan is starting to come into his own right in front of our eyes. Every game he seems to get better. Now with Ryan O'Reilly signing in Colorado, we can once again fawn over our own, talented young center.
- He didn't have much work early, but Henrik Lundqvist had a stellar third period when the Lightning finally dialed it up. Made some excellent "Lundqvist" saves and preserved the lead when it could've easily gone the other way. He'll be the first to tell you he needs to be better and perhaps his third-period effort is the beginning of a dominating stretch.
- Steve Eminger got Bickel'd after playing over 20 minutes last game. Can't make it up.
- I liked the balance of the lines, but I don't expect Marian Gaborik to stay on a checking line with Brian Boyle and J.T. Miller for long. Even though Taylor Pyatt has deserved the top-six minutes he has gotten lately. He works well along the boards and has made his line with Stepan and Callahan click.
- Speaking of Miller, he's been better lately and continues to show poise with the puck and isn't afraid to make plays. Amazing what some confidence will do.
- The Sabres come into town for a Sunday night showdown.
When you look at Nash, the impact he has and his skill - how his team responds and wants to play better when they see him going - have to start to wonder is he deserves a letter on his sweater for inspiring not just his line mates but his team, the fans - even Sam and Joe were stunned on that toe drag play last night.
At this point I think he deserves an A.
"- Ryan Callahan with another Ryan Callahan game. Yawn."
Amen, he is becoming an all-time great Ranger captain; lets add ring to that resume soon!
@TheNYRBlog one thing I think tho is that if the line of Boyle, Miller, Gaborik stay together it could be a legit scoring line.
I must say it was refreshing to see this game last night. Overall, it has been a very disheartening season. We are way to talented to be playing the way we have been playing, we also have set our expectations very high because we have come to expect this out of Torts and his team. With that being said, I think if they keep building upon the relationships on the ice we will see some serious win streaks headed our way. Hopefully last night the sleeping giant has awaken.
I am not player hating but Pyatt is not top 6. He should be with the 3rd or 4th line. How many assists did he have yesterday? His line mates looked great. In my opinion he just dose not fit.
Strong game for all the important pieces of this team! Nash is ridiculous. Stepan , Hagelin, and McDonagh are really making their cases for the Rangers to empty the coffers this summer. Richards was much more noticeable this game, but in a good way. Miller and Gabby might also be a good combo, just not with Boyle at center. But Boyle played a good game as well.
Gate to be negative after a strong game but can we finally end the Bickel experiment? Besides the fact that he's not a good hockey player at either forward or defense, he just plain hockey stupid. His team is up 2-0 and surging and he goes and accepts the Lightning's enforcer's fight challenge. I dunno, I thought that took a lot of wind out of the sails. If he had pummeled the guy, it wouldn't be so bad, but he didn't. Granted he's not the only one who's done stuff like this. I was watching a bit of the Blackhawks game and they were up a couple of goals. Dan Carcillo (man I hate typing that name) hit someone in the offensive zone and was then approached by one of the other team's tough guys and he totally ignored him because he knew his team didn't need it. Why can't the Rangers' tough guys understand this concept. You don't need to fight just for the hell of it. It's just stupid.
I thought everyone played great. Miller and Pyatt looked very good. Richie actually looked good. Id like to see gaborik start scoring, after a hot start he hasnt scored in a while, I think he may get hot again with nash coming back and opening it up for him. Nash looked incredible. Hank looked great. The d looked good. The Garden was loud tonight for a change. Great all around effort.
Good recap eccept I do not agree with your comment about Pyatt. He is no Dubi or Anisimov. Does nothing to empress me, dough I only watched a gamo on TV. Maybe he looks different when you are at the game..
@TheNYRBlog The sky seems bluer, the morning commute goes smoother, and the Flyer/Pens fans in the office got nothing today 2 gloat about.
@TheNYRBlog Great recap. Brad looked a lot better w/61 & 62. Does Gabby have a NTC? I love Gabby, but Torts can't let him skate w/ Boyle.
Biggest thing about that game for me... it was fun!
Makes all the difference to get a solid effort from everybody. I don't think I yelled at my TV once.
I thought Richards had a great game tonight compared to the last 10 or so games. Overall, the team was firing on all cylinders. Maybe the fairweather fans will stop calling for buyouts, coach firings, etc. This team just needs some traction, and I think this a step in the right direction.
Don't underestimate the impact of Powe being out too, I think we still need another grinder to balance the team..
Eminger didnt deserve to get Bickel'd after his performance on Tuesday. I feel he routinely gets the short end of the stick from Torts. Whenever he plays, he's solid and plays with a good physical edge to his game. He should definitely get 10-15 minutes per night to take some of the load off of Girardi/Staal/McDonagh so they still have something come playoff time.
Now, I know I said it before we lost 5 of 6, but looking ahead, we should be able to start stringing wins together. Should be able to, and also need to.
I'm loving the contributions from Halpern and Powe. They both played just under 10 but they're effective when they're on the ice. The way they kill penalties reminds me of how Dubie/Cally used to kill PKs last year. Hustle, hard work, not afraid to block shots. Halpern is faster than I thought he was, and Powe is a real gritty player.
Agree - Gabby and Miller don't really belong on a checking line do they? That said, move Boyle to 4th line with Powe and Halpern and there's your checking line. Just need a center with minimal offensive skills to play with Gaborik and Miller - that's the only issue with this roster right now.
this team is going to be fine...we got in to a groove then got hit with all the injuries, especially nash....we just have to stay healthy and well be fine
@TheWrage Great recap! And thank you for saying how good Stepan has looked. Seeing fans say he should be benched recently has drove me crazy
Hagelins feet aren't in question. He continues to show those hands like he did tonight! He'll be a problem.
Agreed. If Torts really wants to send a message he should take the A away from Richards and give it to Nash, he's earned it in his short time in NY.
@gravey94 they fight, they get criticized, they don't fight, they get criticized... I get your point but who cares really, let him fight... both players get 5 min...
@scrangersfan I dont understand how you could say that. Every game it seems like he makes big plays and is constantly in the right spot on the ice for tips or rebounds. While I do think that think that the team will be best when he is on the third line and Gabby is on the second Gabby has to earn that spot
@AG_Blue I did, on the PP. Especially the 5-3.
@AG_Blue I did. out of habit.
@skev303 Powe being out was definitely a loss. He's great.
@sureshore If you need a center with minimum skill,yu got Boyle.He's only a shadow of what he was last year.Need to lite a fire under hes ass.
@sureshore -- the third line is a checking line, so the moves to the 4th line don't solve the issue. also, i don't like Halpern and Boyle on the same line because they're both good centers, not only are they in position but they win faceoffs. meanwhile, Miller, although a center, is an effective wing. i do like the idea of moving Boyle to the 4th line except that Halpern and Powe play so well together. the lines were balanced, but the third line doesn't seem like the place for Gaborik. I don't mind Miller on the checking line.
@sureshoreI Know the Rangers just sent him down and all but figure if they recall Kreider again put him as LW, Miller at C and Gaborik RW.
@Beckfan5 -- Oh, that was a good time to shout ... look how my expectations have fallen ...
I agree that Boyle has 'minimUM skill' as in what a seasoned AHLer has. I mentioned "minimAL OFFENSIVE skills" which is a little different than minimum skills and implies a little more, especially offensively. Think of someone like Dominic Moore for what I'm thinking of.
why can't the 3rd line be a line that has a little scoring mojo. just think Boyle's the lost piece now on this team, not Gaborik.
@ATCRyan I wish Kreider played with the same F-You kinda swagger that Miller kinda has.
@boogiepicker @_Jack @ATCRyan Can start to see the difference the seasoning in the OHL made with Miller, he was supposed to play for North Dakota but instead went to Plymouth to play stiffer competition. Not to take anything away from Kreider playing at BC but OHL is going to have tougher teams more frequently than college plus the amount of games played in the OHL compared to college may have seasoned Miller more.
@_Jack @ATCRyan I think he needs some AHL time under his belt to develop the physicality that he's lacking right now. We know he's got talent but he needs to work on getting to the puck and taking control of the puck. The physical level of play at the college level is nothing compared to that of the AHL.