Rangers Vs. Flyers: Was That Offense I Saw?

Bruce Bennett

Notes from the Rangers' win over the Flyers.

- Why don't we quickly start with a hearty congratulations to the United States Men's Soccer team for getting their first result in Mexico since 1997. That was a great game. Really exciting, fast-paced and, of course, heart-stopping at times. It's also awesome to see Mexican fans go home unhappy at the Azteca.

- Anyway, back to hockey. If the Rangers play like that every game this year from this point forward they won't only make the playoffs but they'll be contenders, too. That was a dominant result against a team struggling for points on the road. That was a great game from the Rangers. They got scoring from most of their top guns, secondary scoring and the grit and edge that suited them so well last year.

- Rick Nash was Rick Nash. That's a really good thing. There are so many points throughout a season when a game comes down to who has the best goal scorer on the ice. Most of the time the Rangers win a game, it's because they have that player in Nash. He was that player again against the Flyers. Two monster goals (including the 300th of his career on a disgusting snipe from the slot) and an assist to help the Rangers get a big-time win.

- Since we're speaking about offensive powerhouses: Derek Stepan, ladies and gentlemen. I just want a lot of you to think back to the things some of you said about him earlier in the year. Who still wishes he was moved instead of Artem Anisimov for Nash? Who still thinks he'll never develop into a quality player? Players like Stepan (who did start off slow the first five games or so) usually get this type of treatment from fans when the team is struggling. I usually appreciate patience in those circumstances. You're seeing why.

- P.S: The Rangers never win that game without Stepan. He sprung Carl Hagelin with a beautiful pass that lead to an opening-minute breakaway. He had the primary (and beautiful) assist on the first Nash goal. He had another assist on the Brad Richards' goal before scoring on himself. And then, of course, he cycled the puck around for Rick Nash's goal to make it 4-2.

- Richards had a quality game. A power play goal (and what a rip that was) and an assist in one of those games we saw him play a lot of last year. Good, too. The Rangers need him to get going.

- Why don't we move on to the kids? Chris Kreider had his best game as a Ranger. Man did that time in Connecticut help him. He was aggressive all game, worked the tough areas of the ice, created chances, scored a goal and has a real edge to his game now. It's awesome. He was under the Flyers' skin all night, and his game matched the intensity he brought on the ice.

- J.T. Miller looked really good, too. He found himself with Kreider once and it turned into a really good scoring chance for Kreider. I love the two of them together, I really do. They have speed, ability to grind the puck if needed and some offensive flair as well. Maybe try Kreider-Miller-Gaborik? Or Kreider-Miller-Callahan? Either way, the duo should see some time together.

- And, as usual, Henrik Lundqvist was an animal. He was monumental all night, and it took two silly goals to get past him. Another big night from him, another big two points for the Rangers.

- Don't underestimate how important those two points are. Carolina lost, so the Rangers are three points ahead of them (although Carolina has one game in hand). The Rangers are now a full two points ahead of the Islanders (the Rangers have a game in hand) and two points back from the Devils (the Rangers have a game in hand). If they can string a few of these wins together, the Rangers might make things much more comfortable for them as this season rolls to a finish.

Thoughts?

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