Rangers Vs. Blackhawks: Are The Rangers Turning A Corner?

Jonathan Daniel

Notes from the Rangers huge win over the Blackhawks.

- For the first time, in a very long time, Henrik Lundqvist was without a doubt the New York Rangers most important player. It wasn't even close. Yes, the second goal of the game was a softy, but Lundqvist had no chance on the first goal and he was in absolute beast mode the rest of the game. Especially in those frantic final two minutes where Chicago stacked about three players in the slot and were throwing everything at the net. That was vintage Lundqvist. And he really needed a game like this, against a team like that, in a building like that and in a game with so much hanging in the balance (if you don't think those two points against the NHL's best team is important think again). Just wow from him.

- Another struggling player who had a really, really great game? Rick Nash. There's been a lot of talk about Nash's numbers and about how he's not been as good this year as he has in the past. And in some game I agree with you. But I've said it before and I'll say it again: I think some of that has to do with him coming back form the concussion. More importantly, Nash was all over the ice on Wednesday. He created chances, took good shots and caused chaos wherever he went. He didn't register a point, but if he's playing like that it's not as important. Those will come.

- Chris Kreider is another player who didn't hit the scoresheet but had a great game. He's everywhere, it seems, when he turns the jets on. Oh, the puck is in the far corner and Kreider's by the blue line? No problem, he just tosses on the afterburners and is there in a blink. It might not seem like much, but take a look at the turnovers and mistakes he forces opposing team's defenseman into when they see him barring down on them. It happens a lot more than you think.

- Now to the guys who did hit the scoresheet. Brad Richards and Ryan Callahan had great games all around. Both of them looked dangerous on a (suddenly) lethal power play, and while the goal wasn't a good one for Chicago, credit Richards for taking a good, hard shot.

- And, of course, Mats Zuccarello's goal for a guy who has been one of the Rangers' best players from top to bottom all year and just continues to produce. Wait till that contract negotiation.

- Carl Hagelin with his 11th. Now Hagelin, Kreider and Richards are all tied for the team lead with 11 goals. Kreider has played in seven less games than Richards and three more than Hagelin, however.

- Give the defense a lot of credit (and again, some of this has to go on Lundqvist), they shut down a really, really, really offensively skilled team. Ryan McDonagh, Marc Staal and Dan Girardi were really good the entire game. Michael Del Zotto had one of his best games of the season (and that's a few in a row for him now, too) and Anton Stralman bounced back as well. John Moore was solid, too. Good to see.

- Dan Carcillo looked way more like a hockey player than most of you were expecting, no? Not a bad game from him at all.

- This win continues to signify that battle level we've been begging for -- and have seen recently. That's a hell of a win. Seriously. From up 2-0 to tied 2-2 in a matter of minutes isn't an easy thing to overcome. Especially against that team, on the road and with the confidence issues this team has faced. But just like the Blue Jackets game, the Rangers put their heads down and kept driving forward. They never stopped moving their legs. And this time they walked away with two points, not one.

- Maybe this team is starting to come around. This is a different Rangers team than the one we saw during that horrid nine-game homestand. And now the Rangers have another big chance with a few home games in a row to start making something happen. The Rangers are 6-2-1 in their last nine games. That's nothing to scoff at. Here's to that continuing. This was a good start.

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