NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 11: Brad Richards #19 of the New York Rangers is congratulated by his teammates for his goal in the third period against the Carolina Hurricanes at Madison Square Garden on November 11, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
It might sound obvious to think the New York Rangers have hit their stride this season and used that momentum to reel off a six-game winning streak, with the Carolina Hurricanes being the most recent victim.
But in reality, the Rangers played better against the Hurricanes then any other victory during the winning streak, save the San Jose Sharks game.
We've seen how impressive the GAS line has played, especially the past few games. Derek Stepan and Artem Anisimov rebounded nicely from slow stars to the season, and Marian Gaborik is nearly halfway towards last year's goal total in just 15 games so far this season. Consistency is the name of the game though, and despite not scoring any points as a line in the win over the Hurricanes the trio did have a fantastic game.
But that's not only good news we saw from the streak, join me after the jump for more.
After posting an entire article about how Brandon Dubinsky needed a goal badly, he went out and delivered. Dubinsky scored the third goal in the Rangers' four-goal third period against the Hurricanes and added an assist in the game as well. We have talked about secondary scoring being a vital point for the Rangers' success this season, and Ryan Callahan stepped up once again, notching a goal and an assist against the Hurricanes. Both Callahan and Dubinsky figure to be the main figureheads for secondary scoring, and now that Dubinsky has gotten his first goal I'm expecting him to contribute much more.
Then there's Brad Richards, who also scored a goal and added an assist in the win over the Hurricanes. Richards has learning the system and learning his teammates these first five games, and hasn't gotten anywhere near his potential as of yet. He still has five goals and seven assists on the year, and his no-look pass to Dan Girardi through traffic for the go-ahead goal was a thing of beauty.
But aside from it being awesome to watch, it proved that Richards is understanding this team. He's starting to recognize who is sneaking in from the top of the point, who likes to curl around behind the net and where guys like the puck when they're looking for a shot. The deeper we get into this season, the more impressive Richards is going to be.
And finally, the defense. Yes, Michael Del Zotto had a rough game against the Hurricanes. But that's OK. The young defenseman, and really any defenseman in the NHL, is going to have a game here and there where he's simply off his game. The issue is not letting that continue, which we'll see how he rebounds Tuesday night on Long Island.
Speaking of the defense, Ryan McDonagh recorded an assist on the Girardi goal, raising his season total to three goals and four assists for seven points. He's two points away from matching last season's 40-game total of nine points.
But it's not just his offense that impressed. His defense has been it's typical solid play, and he's done quite a bit to help shore up the Rangers' defense in the absence of Marc Staal.
In the end, when things are going right they go right. But the Rangers are doing a lot to help their cause, and it's showing.