- If last night was the first game you've watched all season you would have probably been ecstatic. The New York Rangers had a 60-minute battle level, looked outstanding on the power play, dominated the entire game, ran into a really hot goalie and found enough goals to win anyway and got a spectacular effort from backup goal Cam Talbot.
- Context, of course, is everything. Remember what it was like the day after the Rangers 5-0 dismantling of the Pittsburgh Penguins? We all believed the Rangers started turning a corner, until they lost the next two games in a shootout and then got blown out by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the worst loss of the season. So, as good as last night was, the Rangers' effort Friday (if they can, you know, get to Buffalo with all that snow) is just as important as the two points the Rangers grabbed Wednesday night.
- I don't believe Talbot is the .940 SV% goaltender he was last year. That's a remarkably high save percentage that screamed for regression, which is exactly what happened through the first three games of the season. I do, however, believe the Talbot we saw Wednesday night is closer to the goalie he is rather than the first three losses of the season. Talbot was spectacular. This wasn't one of those "give him a shutout but he didn't do any work" type of games. Talbot earned this one, and the Rangers needed it. They also need more consistent results from him when he tends the pipes.
- For as bad as the defense was against the Lightning, they really tightened up against the Flyers Wednesday. Marc Staal and Dan Girardi had big bounce back games. Kevin Klein, Dan Boyle and John Moore looked good, too. Matt Hunwick continues to be steady.
- Klein scored his fourth goal of the year last night. To put that in perspective, Klein has hit the four-goal mark twice in his career. That's four goals in an entire season twice. He has four goals through 18 games. I'm not sure if he can keep this pace up, but he's cheap if he can give the Rangers 15 or so goals a year (probably not happening).
- Rick Nash continues to be a monster. More important, the top line of Nash, Derick Brassard and Martin St. Louis continued to roll. Derek Stepan -- who is currently slotting on the second line -- helps solidify the top six, too.
- The power play is currently using Boyle on the point with Stepan on the other side of him. And you know what? It's working. The Rangers power play looked lethal last night. It's actually cool to have a first unit that might strike fear into an opponent. And like George pointed out a few days ago, Boyle doesn't sit at one spot on the point, he moves around. That movement created three grade-A chances that on any other night probably goes in. And with Stepan on the other side, the Rangers have two legit puck-movers on the power play. They move the puck so well that this happened and stunned everyone in the building:
Which prompted this response from me:
You could make sweet, sweet love to that PP goal. My word. Stepan to St. Louis to Nash (while I'm yelling, "shoot" for what it's worth)— Joe Fortunato (@BlueshirtBanter) November 20, 2014
- Brassard didn't have a point in the game, but he was instrumental in the above power play goal and had a great night. Chris Kreider was dominant (with a post) but didn't find the score sheet, either. Mats Zuccarello was good -- also held without a point.
- Anthony Duclair played 9:25, Kevin Hayes played 10:29, Jesper Fast played 9:47, Tanner Glass played 9:38. I've talked about this enough, it's just baffling.
- Dominic Moore = under-appreciated.