Rangers Vs. Hurricanes: Playoffs? Playoffs.

Grant Halverson

Notes from the Rangers win over the Hurricanes.

- Well, it wasn't easy. Not even close. But the New York Rangers found a way to get the job done. That's important. I know they lost a game they should have won against the Florida Panthers. And I know for a while it looked like they were going to lose Thursday, too. But sometimes guys put far more pressure on themselves to make the playoffs than they do once they make it. Then once they're in things loosen up a bit. I truly believe that.

- I think it's important to note that Derek Stepan has 17 goals and 25 assists for 42 points in 47 games. Last year Stepan had 17 goals and 34 assists in 82 games. Yeah, I think we're seeing a true transition out of him. What a growth spurt. Oh, he had a goal and an assist in the win. He's been huge.

- Derick Brassard had the second Rangers goal, two or three other quality chances and made some nice passes throughout the game. I've loved his game since he got here. And he's been coming through for the Rangers. He's had 11 points in 12 games with the Rangers this year.

- And, of course, Ryan Callahan. What else can you say? He's been a little off and on this year, but when the Rangers have needed him he's been there. His celebration after his OT goal said it all. Relief, excitement (he nearly decapitated Anton Stralman afterwards) and just pure joy. That's the playoffs in a nutshell. He's the right guy to bring them there.

- I thought Rick Nash was a dominant as you can be without hitting the stat sheet. How there wasn't a penalty called when he was hauled down in the third was beyond me, but he was making things happen everywhere.

- Another great game from John Moore. That's to be expected at this point, however. What a player he is.

- Quick point on Michael Del Zotto. He had a really good game. He was the architect behind the first goal (his initial pass sprung the play, but he won't get an assist) and even without that he finished the game with two assists. So he was a big part of all three goals. Yes, his play that lead to the Hurricanes goal in the third was dumb. And I really don't like using that work to describe plays but it needs to be said. He was pinching, he knew he didn't have any support at the point and he threw the puck through the slot when it had to either go on net or go deep. But that's the only play most people will remember. Most will have selective amnesia about the rest of the great things he did (and does). He's been good this year. A big step forward. He's 22, mistakes happen.

- Mats Zuccarello was incredible again. I don't know what else to say about him. But I would be shocked if Glen Sather didn't lock him up after this year is over.

- In the excitement of the playoffs it might be easy to forget about Ryan Clowe's injury. If it's a concussion, well, let's hope it wasn't as bad as it looked. The Rangers need him for the playoffs.

- And once Clowe went down John Tortorella inserted Chris Kreider into his place (Kreider played some bigger minutes in the third) and he looked good. Not even out of place but good. Play the kid, Torts, he's fine.

Thoughts?

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