Rangers Vs. Maple Leafs: Henrik Lundqvist. Just ... Henrik Lundqvist

Al Bello

Notes from the Rangers win over the Maple Leafs.

- Every now and then there comes a time when a play simply renders you speechless in hockey. You know, one of those things that stops you right in your tracks and makes you shake your head as you wonder if what you saw actually happened. That was Henrik Lundqvist's save against Nazem Kadri in overtime. It was stunning. I mean, seriously. Lundqvist had just made two (amazing) saves, had Dion Phaneuf in his grill and still managed to get over and stop Kardi. Wow. Seriously. Just wow.

- Those two points were simply massive for the New York Rangers. The win pushed them two points ahead of the Winnipeg Jets (with a game in hand) for the eighth and final playoff spot, it brought the Rangers level with the Islanders for seventh place (the Islanders have one more ROW) and level with the Senators for sixth place (Ottawa has one game in hand).

- There is something about this team that I like. Remember last time when we talked about the "sniff test," tonight was one of those nights as well. When the Rangers gave up the game-tying goal to Phil Kessel in the third period I expected the Rangers to go into the shell they've been doing of late, be on their heels the rest of the game and end up losing on a late goal. They didn't. There were a few moments of panic in the Rangers defensive end, but the offense kept pushing and the Rangers never backed down in overtime.

- I thought it was another big game from Derek Stepan -- although he and the rest of the Rangers got mauled at the face off dot. He recorded an assist on the Carl Hagelin goal, had some other chances and kept making things happen in the offensive zone.

- Speaking of Hagelin, yesterday I talked about how much the Rangers missed his offense during his slump. Well, he scored a goal and added an assist to give the Rangers a massive boost on offense. The Rangers need him to get going. His speed is always a weapon, and he is always creating space for his teammates with it, but the Rangers need a more consistent flow of offense from him. They got it on Wednesday.

- Ryan McDonagh had a goal and an assist, and tried to top Lundqvist for "prettiest play of the night" award. His stutter-step, quick fake move before blasting a shot home was beautiful. You know what else was beautiful? Ryan Callahan screening the goalie. There is a huge amount of offensive potential in McDonagh, sooner or later it's going to come out.

- And why not give Mats Zuccarello some love. That shootout goal was beautiful. Fake out the goalie, make him think you're going high and snap the puck through the five-hole. Seriously, how quickly did his wrists snap to put that one home? He also had a really good game overall. Created chances -- eventually those pucks will go in -- and saw some minutes during overtime. Know what that tells me? John Tortorella trusts him. I think we see Zuccarello back next year.

- Brad Richards was bad. Like, really bad. It was another one of those games from him that makes you shake your head and wonder if he's heading for a buyout this year rather than next year. I think originally (before this year started) no one actually thought the Rangers would use their second buyout on Richards. But this season has had a few different surprises pop up, and Richards has been one of them. Honestly, I think Richards needs to force his way into keeping his job. Right now he's not doing that.

- Derick Brassard made a great play that's usually overlooked on the McDonagh goal. He got the puck in the corner, shielded it from two Maple Leaf defenders and made a crisp pass up to McDonagh for the goal earning himself an assist. That isn't an easy play, even though he made it look easy.

- Ryane Clowe gave another great performance last night. He had a fight, cycled down low really well and had a chance or two. I like Clowe down low, I really do. He's strong on the puck, can cycle behind the net without losing the puck and I think his vision is a little underrated.

- Another part of Zuccarello's game that's really come along? His toughness. He doesn't take crap from anyone. Watching him go after Phaneuf two or three times in this game made me smile. I'm really liking that part of his game.

- Well, this game set up a huge matchup against the Islanders on Saturday.

Thoughts?

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