Rangers Vs. Red Wings: Holy Goaltending

Bruce Bennett

Notes from the Rangers' win over the Red Wings

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- I think we really need to just take a moment to tip our hats to both goaltenders in that game. What. A. Show. Henrik Lundqvist and Jimmy Howard were amazing, remarkable, spectacular and any other adjective you can think of to describe the word fantastic. Just wow. And, of course, it take a fluky kind of goal like that to decide the game.

- Another one of these bullet points I can't prove but I'm going to say it anyway: Earlier in the year the Rangers would have lost this game. That fluky Mats Zuccarello goal would have been scored by someone wearing the other jersey and we would have been talking about another tough loss despite the team playing well. Amazing how much of a game of bounces hockey can be.

- And speaking of the tempo, it was high, all game. The Rangers played really, really, really well despite the fact they only hung one goal on the board. They were creating offensive chances all over the place, every line was getting involved, and they just couldn't finish. Actually, that's not the right way to say that. They weren't allowed to finish is a little better. Howard was insane.

- Another amazing game from Lundqvist. Seriously. The Red Wings were banged up, but they didn't look like it. Credit that entire organization, too. Top to bottom no matter who is out or who they lose the kids in their system know the style of play and execute it with ease when they're brought up as replacements. They had 38 shots in the game and more than a few required brilliant Lundqvist saves; including two diving stops and, of course, the last-gasp grab at the goal line with less than 30 seconds to play.

- It's been a good, long stretch of vintage Lundqvist games now, hasn't it? Any surprise it's helped turn things around?

- What kind of a player is Zuccarello turning into? Remember all the people who didn't think the Rangers could win with him playing in a key offensive role on this roster? Remember all the people who thought he was too small to succeed? The fans who didn't want him back, thought he was too much of a risk and didn't pose enough of a reward? Yeah, those people aren't talking much right now. Zuccarello is second on the Rangers with 34 points in 48 games. That's nearly a 60-point pace on a team that has had a lot of trouble scoring.

- Zuccarello is now tied with Chris Kreider and Brad Richards for the team lead in goals with 12. Kreider has played in six less games than Zuccarello and seven less than Richards.

- I liked Kreider's game on Thursday a lot. Same goes for Rick Nash. Derek Stepan was so much better offensively, but is about as snake bitten as I can remember a player being.

- The best line, however, was Zuccarello, Derick Brassard and Benoit Pouliot. My word that trio is making things happen. I don't know what happened, but Pouliot has become an absolute animal. He's fighting for loose pucks, going into the corners, using his size and going to the front of the net. Seriously, what a change. I know he only has 18 points, but if you take away his horrible start to the year he's had a hell of a two months. Same goes for Brassard -- although I maintain that Brassard has been pretty darn good all year. And Zuccarello we talked about at the top.

- Big props to Ryan McDonagh, Marc Staal and Dan Girardi. Hell of an effort from all three of those guys the past two games.

- John Moore and Anton Stralman were completely invisible on Thursday, and I mean that as a massive compliment.

- That's a big win (another big win) that might help this team's confidence. I know it sounds crazy, but winning a game like that where things could have gone either way is a nice little boost.

- 3-1 on this homestand.

Thoughts?

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