Rangers Vs. Senators: That Was Crazy

Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photo

Notes from the Rangers win over the Senators.

- Let's be 100% honest about something before we get into the meat of the notes: The Rangers played so much better (in a 1-0 loss) against the San Jose Sharks than they did in Tuesday night's 8-4 win over the Senators. But a win is a win is a win, and two points are far more worthwhile than the "style" points you get from a pretty loss. So, of course, the sun is a little brighter for most fans this morning.

- On Tuesday I talked about how Rick Nash and Martin St. Louis needed to step up in terms of offense. Nash, obviously, scored the Rangers' first goal of the game on a shorthanded breakaway and then added another (an empty netter off a feed from Chris Kreider) to bury the game. Nash started playing the PK because he was going to be used there for team Canada during the Olympics, and since he's been a pretty pivotal player in keeping that unit on the top of its game.

- One more Rick Nash note. When the Rangers struggle to score a lot of people usually point to Nash as being overpaid, a disappointment and a player you wouldn't trade straight up for Artem Anisimov (really?). Nash has 22 goals on the season this year, which puts him on a 27-goal pace. If he didn't miss all those games with an injury earlier in the year (and I'm not even including the 10 games or so it took him to get his footing back) he'd be on pace to score 34 goals. Not sure what more you want from him, to be honest. People love to point at the big guns when things are going wrong, but Nash has been every drop of what you should have expected when he got here. I'm also giving a semi pass to him for last year's playoffs because I have reasonable evidence to suggest he was banged up, hopefully we get to see his redemption shot this year.

- More importantly, however, the Rangers got a good amount of secondary scoring. Benoit Pouliot scored a huge goal to give the Rangers a 3-2 lead. Derick Brassard had two goals and an assist. John Moore scored a fluky goal to give the Rangers a 4-2 lead. Mats Zuccarello had himself a night, with two beautiful assists. My point? Nash and St. Louis don't have to shoulder as much of the offensive load when other guys who are expected to score actually, well, score.

- Also, Henrik Lundqvist was a huge part of this win, as much as you might not think so with the Rangers scoring seven goals. Lundqvist made some massive saves when it was a one or two-goal game. That includes an astounding save on a 2-on-0 rush right after the Rangers gave up an early third period goal to trim their lead to 5-3. Then the plethora of chances they gave up after they went up 7-3. Hard to understand.

- Another note (a lot of these today): Mike Richter was my favorite player ever growing up. I wore his jersey, threw a rubber ball against the wall to simulate opponents shots when I pretended to be him and loved watching him. If anyone was to break his record, which Lundqvist did last night, I'm glad it was him.

- That little four-goal outburst in the second period if what drives people so crazy. The Rangers finally got Ottawa hemmed in their own zone, forced a few turnovers and finished some chances. Three goals in under four minutes. Four goals the entire period to really put the game away (or so we thought). They have the talent, but sometimes the bounces need to go your way. They did Tuesday.

- Martin St. Louis got an assist on the Rangers second to last goal. That was his only scoresheet contribution although I did think he was pretty active through most of the game. I am expecting him to be more of a scoring force once he breaks out of this little slump, but some of his passes are so amazing I'm blinded by them and forget he's not scoring. At least he's still creating.

- Ryan McDonagh. Boy oh boy is he a player. Another goal (his 12th) and another major impact moment for him in the offensive zone, along with all the good he does in the defensive zone. That gives him 37 points on the year. He might break 40, he might break 45, Hell he could get to 50 with a nice little run. Either way, McDonagh has been the Rangers best player this year and it's not even close.

- The out of town scoreboard was sort of friendly for the Rangers last night. The Blue Jackets lost (finally), although the Flyers came back to beat Chicago. The Rangers effectively knocked Ottawa out of the playoffs with the win, and the Devils lost as well.

- But, thanks to that spell of horrible hockey the past week, the Rangers are still in a bit of trouble. Right now they're third in the division, with a two-point lead over Columbus, but the Blue Jackets have two games in hand. My oh my is that game in Columbus going to be a big one on Friday.

Thoughts?

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