Let's take tonight and the previous game against the Sabres for what they were; easy wins. The Sabres have already given up on their season while the Hurricanes are missing half of their roster due to all sorts of injuries. Nonetheless, the Rangers took care of business and put away two teams that should be put away. After underwhelming performances against the Devils and Flyers, who aren't great themselves, there were no promises the Rangers were going to play quality hockey now. And lets be frank; the Rangers deserved a few cupcake games after the ridiculous western road trip against some quality teams they endured to start the year. Good performance from a number of players tonight. Let's review it all:
Henrik Lundqvist: We can stop worrying about him now. Whatever ailments were previously hindering him are long gone and he had back-to-back quality games to prove it. Coming off the shutout against Buffalo, Lundqvist saved 27 pucks on 28 shots. The one goal that beat him was somewhat of a fluke shot. The scoreline doesn't reflect that the Rangers were flat in the first 10 minutes of the game and Lundqvist had to be sharp. A nice little cameo from Cam Talbot, but the King has taken back his throne, which is rightly his.
Kreider-Stepan-Zuccarello: It makes plenty of sense that this line would work. Stepan and Zuccarello have a phenomenal hockey IQ and good hands. Kreider is an athletic freak-of-nature and works hard to create all sorts of space for himself and, by proxy, others. Still, only recently did someone figure out to group these three together, and credit to Vigneault for doing so. Zuccarello and Stepan were non-factors up until the Detroit game, when this line was formed. Since that point, the two have combined for 11 points. Stepan broke his goal drought with a hat-trick, of all things, tonight, while Zuccarello had three assists. Kreider, also with three assists, now has six points in six games this season - twice the total he had in 23 games last season - and seems ready to stick at the NHL level for good. With Nash and Callahan out the Rangers desperately needed to find offense elsewhere. This trio has stepped up to the plate.
Carl Hagelin: He has been a breath of fresh air ever since he returned to the lineup, but he was the primary catalyst tonight before the game completely got away from the Hurricanes. Two quality goals from Hagelin, with both displaying his speed. He totaled five shots, was phenomenal in the defensive zone, and was tenacious on the forecheck. Carolina's defense was completely helpless in trying to keep up with him.
Ryan McDonagh & Dan Girardi: The two were deployed against the Staal brothers (yes, they're brothers!) and did a very good job of limiting their scoring chances. Though Eric and Jordan did combine for eight shots, the two were never afforded any truly dangerous scoring chances. If you stop these two then you take away most of Carolina's firepower. Quality showing from the Rangers' top pairing.
Brian Boyle: Along the same lines of McDonagh and Girardi. Despite starting his shifts in the offensive zone only 13% of the time while starting 40% in the defensive zone, AND playing most of his minutes against the Staal brothers and Semin, Boyle managed a positive Corsi and Fenwick. He won 60% of his faceoffs as well. The season in which he scored 20 goals is long gone, but all the whining about him being "soft" or "awkward" won't change the fact that he's does the job of shutdown center very well.
Derek Dorsett: Oh, Derek Dorsett. You do good things, like forecheck, provide a general physical presence, and even create some offense; four shots tonight. But all that is worth little if you're going to pursue personal vendettas and put the team at a disadvantage. He was well justified in being upset with Hurricanes defenseman Ryan Murphy after he made an awkward hit at Dorsett's knees, but that does not forgive him handing the Hurricanes a powerplay, which they converted on and which put them back within reach of the Rangers. He's a decent skater and actually produced 12 goals with the Blue Jackets in his last full NHL season. He has the potential to be that Brandon Prust kind of player, but he needs to follow in Prust's footsteps and learn how to harness his energy into productive shifts instead of ones that harm the team.
Overall, a strong showing from the whole team. They put away weak team in convincing fashion. After such a miserable start to the season, the Rangers have now won four out of the last five games and have not let in more than two goals in the last six. All despite missing the team's two best forwards in Rick Nash and Ryan Callahan. If the team can continue on this path and string some wins together consistently then the miscues to start the season will be forgotten. Next game will be a much tougher test, though, when they host a hot Anaheim Ducks team on Monday.
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Just saw the video of fight with Emery and Holtby, I can't believe no one took a 3rd man in to protect him? Caps were up 7-0....you got to protect your goalie even if its another goalie as the predator.
So funny everyone whines and bitches nobody stands up to cheap shots, protects the team, inflicts some payback, and then a day or two later bitches that Dorsett takes a penalty for a hit that certainly deserved a beatdown.
I've enjoyed watching the Rangers climb back into the hunt. By the same token, they've beaten teams about as bad as they are (though the Detroit win was a huge surprise). Need to see if this team is really coming around with better competition.
Is it just me, but I thought that while the rest of the team was happy to see Stepan score a hattrick, there was Pyatt, sitting on the bench, with a sour look on his face. Does the man ever smile?
Excellent game analysis.
Anyone else f'n thrilled to see lines actually be given the chance to develop?
Zucc is a rare combo of heart and skill. Works as hard as Cally and seems to be reading the ice like Richards. Wow.
Props to AV and his staff. Looking forward to seeing the team tested in the games ahead.
Btw, that pass by Zuccarello was one of the best passes I've ever seen in my 500 years of watching NHL hockey. I mean the one on Stepan's 2nd goal, obviously.
Hank looks like his confidence is back to normal, shouting on his defense, great saves and he has that intense look in his eyes again. I'm hoping Sather gives him what he wants, he has been the backbone of this team since for so long...
Derek Dorsett is far wiser than his "fans". Give him a break. He's exactly what we need.
I watched the game tonight allowing others to pour my drinks for me. Sorry to miss the fun.
From a bar seat, Boyle might have been our best forward tonight.
Great fucking win. I don't give a shit what the outcome is if this team continues to give the same effort all year they gave tonight.
Nice to see them come out flat and then have the fortitude to turn it around.
P.S. I might be a little drunk.
Good confidence builder for our offense as we didn't have much physical play or defense to contend with - still we beat a team with the Staals, Semin and Murphy, even with their injuries those are some good players and this is still a good team (in a miserable slump). The analysis is good as always, though I wouldn't call Zucc a non-factor before the Detroit game as he was still getting nice (unconverted) feeds to his team mates all along, though I would agree that he seems more confident, quicker and stronger on the puck as of late. - but Step actually ended his "holdout" 3 games ago. Like a light switch he became a different player. Nice to have him back and it will be good to see how much he improves moving forward. I like Boyle's game as of late. If he can continue to be an in your face, agitating hard guy to play against type player who spends a lot of time in front of the net I can forgive the lack of hard body checks. Is it just me or is Dorsett pretty fast on his skates. Anyway they seemed better in the Buffalo win but this was a good game. That was a 60 minute effort. There were lapses in this one. Now on to some tough teams, it will be interesting to see where we now stand.
Some defensive lapses would have cost the game against a better opponent.Hank is the man.He made the saves. Stepan got woken up by his benching apparently-his quick reaction time to the rescue. Hags-what can you say-he has made this a winning team with his speed-he's a phenom.
However, I wasn't super impressed -with Cam in goal and if some of those Cane opportunities had got in-this could have been a different story. Wasn't impressed by Stralman- LOLed at Lundqvist's death stare he gave him after the goal.
So a great win, but this team is still a work in progress.Hope they play better against the Ducks.
Kevin props to you and the team, first place I go to after the game and the recap is getting faster and faster, oh and better.
Was anyone else upset hearing "Nash" coming from the commentators mouths? It was pissing me off. Such a shame, id love to see what he'd be doing when this team is actually producing some offense.
The thing that pisses me off about the Dorsett penalty was just that. It's not a fucking penalty, and had no business being called.
Mashinter actually had a very good game. He had an active stick and made a ton of good defensive plays.
doing what they're supposed to b doing....and the games they won on the road were against good teams...LA, Detroit, Wash. and the Islanders, so it's definitely there and they'll continue to get better....LGR
Combined record of Phx, Anaheim, SJ and Blues right now: 38-9-7. Maybe those loses weren't so bad afterall.
@jslnyr1102 Totally agreed. If that was Hank I'd expect everyone on the ice to jump in. Take your suspension or whatever the league throws at you and protect your own goalie.
@jslnyr1102 I totally agree. 5 teammates on the ice and no one wanted to step up! I dont care that the refs were trying to keep them away for some reason, you can get around that if you WANT to.
I swear, anybody who doesn't like him on the team hasn't watched him play
@Hotfreak I was impressed with Dorsett as well. He brought speed and energy. Took an unfortunate penalty but we really want him to play the way he is
@Vkinc74 you seem too young to be forming sentences....
@PenaltySh0t I think a lot of the time refs will try to protect the young future stars. Murphy could have got himself into trouble first with the dangerous hit and then with his reaction to the Rangers bench. Guys like him and Hertl (although Hertl didn't do anything wrong with the Biron goal) don't know when they should try to make themselves invisible. And they won't fair very well against an angry bruiser. Hopefully somebody said something to Murphy, cause he can't count on the refs all the time.
@PenaltySh0t I got a man crush on Mashinter. Hes strong on the boards good defence, will stick up for our top players, and is physical. I LIKE A LOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
@JoeNYR I love it. He'll be up to 20 minutes a game by next week. lol