- Big wins come in all different shapes and sizes. Some are ugly, some are really pretty and some are kind of hard to explain. The similarity? A win is a win is a win. Doesn't matter how you get it, you just take it and move on. Now, that's not to insinuate that if a team is getting smoked in every category minus the scoreboard they shouldn't make adjustments, but there are no style points in hockey. And in the playoffs, you just need to win four before the other guys do. So a win is a win.
- That's what the Rangers did last night. That's a huge win for a variety of reasons, but the biggest is that the Flyers now need to win two in a row -- and one at Madison Square Garden if they push a Game 7 -- in order to beat the Rangers. We joked a lot about how the Rangers would have been better off staring the playoffs on the road, but how much better is it knowing you have Game 7 at home in your back pocket?
- Once again, it's that magical fourth line we talked about that's making the difference for the Rangers. Dom Moore played close to 13 minutes. Brian Boyle played close to 14 minutes. Derek Dorsett played just over seven minutes. The end result? A massive goal by Moore, and an assist on Boyle's empty net goal that sealed the game.
- The first line was pretty active once again. Martin St. Louis had an assist on the Marc Staal game, hit the post and got robbed on another opportunity (where he scored a goal and the officials made a royal screw up so it was taken off the board). In the end he took four shots and had the type of game we expected from him when the Rangers made the trade for him at the deadline. Derek Stepan had an assist and a slew of smart defensive plays.
- Of all the games Rick Nash has played in this series, this was by far his most quiet. Once again, the Rangers won the game, so most of the "Nash doesn't score and sucks" people were quiet. But some of them continued to show their true colors. I don't know what to tell you guys. We went through this the entire season. Shooting percentage. Regression. These things exist. Nash has taken 23 shots in five games. He has not been invisible, as much as some of you claim he is.
- A lot of you guys have pointed out the Rangers will go as Brad Richards go. I actually agree. I think Richards has been dreadful in the Rangers' two losses, and really good in their three wins. That statement isn't to insinuate Richards is the most important player on the team, but if he gets going (which will get his line going) it keeps the Rangers' far more balanced and thus more dangerous.
- The defense did a really good job keeping the Flyers off the "scoring chances" sheet. Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi has really strong games. So did Staal -- who has quietly become a big part of this series, and I'm not talking about the goal -- and Kevin Klein. John Moore was solid as was Anton Stralman.
- Henrik Lundqvist had a really solid game.
- I really don't like talking about the officials, but that was the worst officiated game I've seen, and that's saying something. The no goal on the St. Louis play was one of the most ridiculous things I've ever witnessed. The official lost sight of the puck, since he was grossly out of position. That's, unfortunately, not a reviewable play in the NHL. So, as stupid as it sounds, they made the right call after making the wrong call. Thankfully it didn't cost the Rangers the game, but my word how do you screw that up? Especially in the playoffs? One day that's going to cost a team a series and things still won't change. Making officials available after the game might help that.
- What I will say is the Rangers did a really fantastic job not letting the insanity get to them and fighting through it. That's a really good sign for a team that has had battle level concerns throughout the year. And a really good sign during a time when teams do need to fight through adversity.
- Now the Rangers need to close this series out on Tuesday. I've talked previously about stepping on another team's throat when you have the opportunity. Well, here's the opportunity, so they better take it.
- Met Tony and 50 after the game. They can confirm I am not Michael Del Zotto. I think 50 took pictures, too, so if I am Del Zotto I've really let myself go.
- Quick note: One of my best friends is a Flyers fan. The two of us have been texting back and forth this entire series, both of us talking about how scared we about about our hockey teams. He had a great line about both of us.
Me: One day we'll be confident our team can pull out an easy series win. At least one of us might be.
Him: When the team earns it. Until then, we feel like guys like a lottery ticket: undeniably hopeful but pragmatically pessimistic.
Me: New York Rangers Hockey: Hey, You Never Know