Rangers Vs. Coyotes: Ryan McDonagh Is Amazing

Notes from the Rangers' win over Phoenix.

- It's pretty amazing how an entire fanbase can go from complete despair to absolute jubilation in the matter of thirty minutes. It's also amazing, however, the Rangers can go from whatever the Hell that was in the first period to the domination they exerted the final 40 minutes of the game.

- A big part of that? Henrik Lundqvist. He wasn't called on very often once the first 20 minutes passed, but when he was he stood tall. Really tall. The ceremony celebrating all his accomplishments was fantastic, too. And as a huge fan of Mike Richter it's always nice to see him on the Garden ice.

- The other aspect of that win was the Rangers' battle level. It's a component that's been sorely missing when the Rangers have struggled, but it's a big part of when they succeed. The Rangers pushed their way into tying the game in the second period. A Chris Kreider own goal (on a play where he did everything right, no less) gave the Coyotes an undeserved 3-2 lead. The Rangers didn't let it impact them, they kept pushing and pushing until the final 10 minutes of the game where they were literally overwhelming the Coyotes on every shift.

- Give the fourth line a lot of credit. That trio did a ton of great things in the beginning of the game where no other forwards were doing anything right, and all three of them played significantly increased roles in the third when Martin St. Louis and Derek Stepan were overcome by the flu and were essentially anchors and sat on the bench.

- Quick note on that: Why did they play? It was obvious neither had any jump in their step and both looked like they were going to pass out at any moment. There is a reason why you signed Ryan Haggerty and emergency called up J.T. Miller. It's to avoid having two of your top six sleepwalking through a game where they simply didn't have the energy to compete.

- Thankfully, the Rangers got a lot of great efforts from some secondary players. Derick Brassard has been awesome the past month or so, and just played a fabulous game. Mats Zuccarello has clearly recovered from his post-Olympic issues and was a beast. Rick Nash and Kreider were very involved. Ryan McDonagh, well, he deserves his own paragraph. Dan Girardi scored a big goal. Brad Richards stepped up, too. So did Carl Hagelin. When that many guys are going, it's a good thing all around.

- Now, to McDonagh. Scored the game winning goal and added two assists. He has 42 points on the year, and might eclipse 50 before the year is over. It's the first time the Rangers have had a 42-point defenseman since Tom Poti scored 48 in 2003. Yeah. He's a monster defensively, does his job without hesitation and is becoming a force on offense. It's great to see, and he's been a big part of this team's success.

- Those are a huge two points, especially with the Flyers losing in regulation to the Los Angeles Kings. Plus, the Rangers winning in overtime gave the Rangers another ROW, so things are moving in the right direction. Tonight, Columbus plays Detroit, so keep an eye on that matchup. The Rangers might make even more ground with a Columbus loss there. And, in terms of importance, Wednesday's game is going to be crazy.


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