This was the big discussion point during the pre-season and its was great to see the 3rd line (3 goals); 2nd line (2 goals) and 1st line (1 goal) all contribute in Buffalo. Boyle and Prust (who almost scored on a 2-on1) are now primary penalty killers behind Dubi and Callihan so everyone has a role. The success of the Ranger forecheck is directly attributable to the on-going youth movement, especially in that 1st period.
Avery (+3) Factor
Stepan doesn't score that 1st "deflection" goal if Avery doesn't have the Sabre defenseman tied up in front. Avery gives Stepan a "Magic Johnson pass" on that 3rd goal. He was finishing his checks all night. Most importantly, Avery on his wing will deter any player from taking a cheap shot at Stepan. Aves has proven that he will stick up for his teammates. For all those Ranger fans who predicted a big year from Avery - he's off to a great start!
This kid has made huge strides from last year. He is playing 2nd line minutes and very visible on every shift. His skating has improved and he is using his size. Both of these qualities were highlighted on Dubi's 1st goal. In time, he will be given a chance to center the Frolov and Gaborik line. I like what Torts is doing now. He is putting Anisimov in a position to be successful (2nd line; hence less pressure) and building his confidence. Having a natural leader like Callihan on his wing will keep Artem more even keel if and when the kid hits a rough patch.
He is a terrific #6 defenseman. Having a physical D-man like Sauer also slows down fast teams like the Sabres through the neutral zone, which is exactly what happened in the 1st period. I don't remember the play but did anyone else see Mike get into a scrum and stand up for one of his teammates. We need this edge on the blue line because our top 5 D don't have it!