Rangers sweep weekend games; An improved power play; Talbot's mean streak; Pouliot's grit

USA TODAY Sports

Today's New York Rangers notes.

Three Stars of the Weekend

Number three: Dan Girardi Here's all you need to know about Dan Girardi's weekend: He was a plus-5, averaging over 20 minutes of ice time, with two assists. Add in that most of his shifts on Sunday were against Alex Ovechkin, and the Rangers 1b defenseman had himself a pretty good weekend.

Number two: Derek Stepan Break a 13-game goalless drought? Check. Score in both games this weekend? Check. Have two, beautiful primary assists? Check, check. Stepan has played better of late, and it was only a matter of time he broke out on the scoresheet.

Number one: Rick Nash What's there to really say? When the Rangers traded some organizational depth to acquire Nash, they probably picture him playing like he did this weekend. Nash scored a brilliant goal in Ottawa Saturday, before netting two more on Sunday in a big Metropolitan Division game. Olympics, clean bill of health, whatever it is, Rick Nash is back.

What You Missed

Plenty of good moments to choose from, but good lord. Great headman pass, great job settling the puck, and an unreal shot that even had the Rangers color guys confused.

I tweeted this out last night, but since the Minnesota game on Dec. 22, the Rangers have gone 11-3-1. On Sunday night, the team did what has revived its season: Solid defending, timely goal scoring, great special teams, and good goaltending. Some recaps of the 4-1 win over Washington. [Blueshirt Banter] [ESPN NY] [NY Post] [Daily News] [The Record] [Newsday] [Blueshirts United]

This one is making it pretty high in the notes because he holds a place near and dear to our hearts. John Tortorella, NHL coach by trade, amateur cage fighter in his spare time, was part of another opening-game line brawl, and then did something Rangers fans have never even seen him do. [SBNation NHL]

While the Rangers have managed to dramatically improve their power play, it's been a matter of practice. [NY Post]

Until there's anything to report on contract negotiations, it's a question worth asking: Are Ryan Callahan's days as a Ranger numbered? [Newsday]

Brian Boyle is happy to fill a role, whatever it may be. [NY Post]

Even when the Rangers aren't scoring goals in bunches, the high number of shots the team is consistently taking is encouraging. [Blueshirts Blog]

Written before this weekend, but now the case more than ever, Nash is re-finding his offensive mojo. [NY Post]

Benoit Pouliot isn't only scoring more, he's getting more involved physically and on the forecheck, something the Rangers like to see him do. [Daily News]

In what's become an identity of the Rangers the past few years, the team's penalty kill is hard to play against. [The Record]

Anyone can see it from just watching the team, and Alain Vigneault reiterated the Rangers are getting better game-by-game. [NY Post]

In the first game of the weekend, Cam Talbot answered the call, and the Rangers scored four consecutive goals to down the Senators. [Blueshirt Banter] [NY Post] [Daily News] [Newsday] [The Record]

Talbot displayed a bit of a mean streak in his win over Ottawa, but then got right back to playing a cool, calm, and collected style. [Newsday]

Saturday was just another example of the Rangers continued good stretch in Ottawa. [NY Post]

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