Notes from the Rangers' overtime win over the Islanders.
- That's a huge win for a bunch of reasons, and none of them have to do with the fact that the New York Rangers beat the New York Islanders -- which is always a beautiful thing. The Rangers willed themselves to this win. Nothing was going right, they were the better team for most of the game, they were creating offense they just weren't scoring. They could have put their heads down, decided it wasn't their night and walked out with a 1-0 loss. They didn't. That battle level which was a problem in the beginning? That was what the Rangers used to win this game. Rick Nash came in and tied the game, Marian Gaborik won it in overtime. Boom. Talk about a momentum boost.
- Let's talk about Nash. The game tying goal, the primary assist on Gaborik's game-winning goal. Nash was an animal all over the ice. Every time he touches the puck something happens. Every time he doesn't have the puck he's scanning the ice, finding space looking for where to strike next. This is a game you can point to and say the Rangers wouldn't have won last year. There have been a few of them so far this season. The difference in all of them? Nash. Eight goals, 12 assists and 20 points in 18 games. All eight of his goals have come in the third period. I can't say enough about him, I really can't.
- I told you guys I though Gaborik was getting there when it came to scoring. He had a great game. Forget overtime, he was all over the ice, making things happen and creating chances. He got shut down a few times in the win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday, and the same thing happened Thursday. But Gaborik didn't get down on himself, kept playing his game and made the right decision on the power play to score his eight of the season.
- Derek Stepan continues to be a beast for the Rangers as well. Another night with two apples brings his season's numbers to five goals and 10 assists. He was another Ranger simply making things happen on the ice. His passes were crisp, he used his forecheck to create some offense early on and he had two big assists on the Rangers' two goals.
- Henrik Lundqvist was amazing. He kept the game at 1-0 when it should have been two or three nothing in favor of the Islanders. He did everything the Rangers needed him to as he found his way back to last year's form.
- Roman Hamrlik played just under 16 minutes and really didn't look out of place at all. For the role he's being asked to play, I really think he's the perfect pickup. He's a little out of shape (he only played four games for Washington this season) but that will come as he keeps playing. Overall, he made a few nice plays and looked fine on the back end.
- J.T. Miller had his usual game. Most of the time he looks really, really good and poised. But every now and then he'll make a poor read on defense or have a tough turnover that creates a chance the other way. I love him at center -- he's much better than he is when he's on the wing -- and I think he's getting better each game, but you have to be able to take the lumps with a 19-year-old in the lineup.
- The Rangers really handled the momentum changes well in this game. And while I would say the Rangers dominated the play, there were periods of times where the Islanders came close to taking that momentum back. The Rangers did a good job keeping the Islanders hemmed back.
- I liked the Rangers having toughness they didn't use in this game. I'm not saying having Stu BIckel kept the Islanders from taking liberties, I'm just saying I like having him on the bench in case anything happens.
- Have I talked about how awesome Rick Nash is? I'll do it again just to be safe. He uses his size better than anyone else in the NHL. It's remarkable. He protects the puck, drags it to where he wants it to go and makes things happen. Very few players (if any) can lug the puck to where he brings it and keep control. It's an amazing talent.
P.S: Do you guys like the recap at night then notes the next morning thing we have going after games? I've seen you guys poke fun at the stories before games, but does anyone have an issue with how we handle post-games?