Some thoughts before the New York Rangers take on the Canadiens.
- The New York Rangers are on a bit of a roll, going 4-0-1 in their last five games. That's the team's biggest roll of the season, and after their slow start it's nice to see. I think there are a few factors that come into this point-streak. The main one being the team starting to learn to play with all the new faces. I think this team is a lot less grind and a lot more skill. Although there are times when they're grinding out wins (the end of the victory against the Washington Capitals is a perfect example).
- Rick Nash is going to start scoring goals eventually, it's just a matter of time. He's been too dominant for too long not to start stringing together some multi-goal games. Even though he isn't directly lighting the lamp, he's been a huge part of the Rangers' offense so far this year. He's the leading scorer with 12 points in 14 games, and he also leads the team with nine assists (tied with Brad Richards).
- Speaking of Richards, it speaks volumes that he is one of the Rangers leading scorers so far this year. I think he's had a rough go on the power play, but his 5-on-5 play hasn't been bad. I think he's going to start finding his game as the season goes on -- I really think the lack of a full season hurt him.
- The power play got a huge goal on Sunday. A game-winning goal which was executed perfectly. That might be all you need to get a struggling power play going, and that happened for the Rangers. We'll see if it sparks them, but they obviously need the help.
- It doesn't get talked about much, but the Rangers' penalty kill blanked Washington's power play -- which is one of the best in the game. That's a pretty big deal. It's also a big reason why losing Darroll Powe hurts so much. He's a big player there.
- The Rangers are 2-0 when both Carl Hagelin and Derek Stepan score in the same game. That's a stat more for their secondary scoring rather than each player individually. The Rangers need both of them to step up, and I think they have.