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Rangers Vs. Hurricanes: Don't Get Too Excited

Notes from the Rangers win over the Hurricanes.

Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

- Remember how after the loss to the New York Islanderswas Mr. Positive? Shining rays of hope and sunshine and all that? Yeah, uh, I felt worse after last night's win than I did after any of the three losses the Rangers had this year. Kind of funny how that works.

- It's not that I'm unhappy the Rangers won, or that those two points weren't massive -- if, for nothing else, the team's mentality -- but that was essentially an AHL team on the other side of the ice and they outplayed the Rangers for a few stretches Thursday night. Unacceptable, regardless of injuries.

- Someone said it last night, but the win on Thursday looks a lot like that gritty, ugly shootout win over the Calgary Flames last year that got the Rangers going. As much as Thursday night was about as ugly a win as you will see, the Rangers talked about how important it was to finally get two points again and feel that fresh breeze of a victory. Don't sleep on that.

- Henrik Lundqvist and Rick Nash were the two best players on the ice for the Rangers. The lone goal Lundqvist gave up was scored off a deflection from Kevin Klein. Nash was a monster all game, wreaking havoc on the forecheck and making a slew of fantastic defensive plays. He had some of the Rangers best chances until they finally scored a goal. He also won the game in the shootout with a ridiculous move.

- Derick Brassard scored the Rangers' only goal -- three goals in three games for him -- and looked much more noticeable. Maybe more important, Mats Zuccarello finally looked like he did last year with Brassard. Until Thursday, Alain Vigneault had broken up Zuccarello and Brassard -- Brassard looked OK without Zuccarello, Zuccarello didn't look as comfortable without Brassard. [Required comment about small sample size.]

- It's going to be impossible to judge this defense without Dan Boyle in the lineup. Ryan McDonagh played over 30 minutes last night. Dan Girardi played over 27 minutes. That pairing is being used any time Vigneault senses some pressure and needs the defense to strengthen itself. Eventually, players who are being ridden that hard will make mistakes. Marc Staal on the other hand is playing with Klein and Matt Hunwick. How do you judge that?

- I thought John Moore looked much, much better.

- Mini rant time: Vigneault said he benched Anthony Duclair in the third not because he did anything wrong or was punishing him, but because he moved Martin St. Louis to the wing and had to shorten his bench. I don't get it, to be honest. In the 10 minutes Duclair played he drew a power play with his speed -- on a line with Tanner Glass no less -- and creased a few chances. he's responsible in his own end and the team desperately needed offense. Hopefully this is a one time thing. But if I'm the coach -- and I'm not -- I find a place for Duclair in the third if for nothing else his speed.

- On the flip side, Kevin Hayes played a lot Thursday in Duclair's absence and looked really good.Like he belongs in the NHL good. That's not a bad thing at all. That leading stretch pass to a breaking McDonagh? My word.

- In a close game Glass played 8 minutes. Shouldn't that be an indictment that he's not an everyday player? I'd be comfortable with Jesper Fast out there late in the third. Glass? Not in this universe.

-A win is a win, right? Well, the big, bad Sharks are coming Sunday so the Rangers better straighten themselves out a bit.