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Rangers Vs. Hurricanes: Weekend Sweep

Notes from the Rangers win over the Hurricanes.

Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

- Those are two very, very big wins for the Rangers even if they came against a team in the basement of the Eastern Conference. In fact, that's a big reason why there was so much pressure on the Rangers this weekend in the first place. I know they were riding a four-game winning streak coming into Sunday, but you have to beat up on the teams on the bottom, which is exactly what the Rangers did.

- Six games in a row, 12 points out of 12. That does wondering for the standings. It makes Tuesday's matchup with the Capitals enormous since they're the team the Rangers are currently fighting with for that third and final guaranteed playoff spot in the Metro. Should be fun.

- I don't like the notion the Rangers "let Carolina hang around" Sunday. The Rangers dominated the game in every single way except the scoreboard. The Rangers didn't let Carolina do much of anything, actually. Both games combined the Hurricanes had 38 shots total -- which included three shots in the overtime. The Rangers absolutely suffocated the Hurricanes and kept the few shots they did have to the outside.

- Henrik Lundqvist was great on Saturday (outside of that really bad goal) and Cam Talbot was even better on Sunday. One major advantage the Rangers have with Talbot is his stick handling. He's essentially a third defenseman. And for a team that focuses so much on moving the puck quickly in transition, he's a huge asset at the back because he's often moving the puck up before the Rangers defense is even entering the zone to help get it.

- Rick Nash is an animal. Three or four times Sunday he took the puck and just cycled and protected it for long stretches ... by himself. The most impressive thing about what Nash has done this year is how little help he's had. I mean, yeah, Derick Brassard and Derek Stepan help a lot -- but Nash has done a wealth of scoring on his own with little help. It's impressive.

- That's not to insinuate Brassard and Stepan haven't done a lot. Stepan has 18 points in 19 games and is just so good in all three of his zones you can't even really express it properly. His return has really helped and the Rangers have gone 12-4-2 since his return. It's not a coincidence, I promise you.

- And the defense has been so much better all around. Marc Staal has improved -- and every now and then he goes back to beast Marc Staal -- but I don't touch him with a long-term deal anyway. Ryan McDonagh (who scored the game's only goal Sunday) is returning to McDonagh (despite a rough game on Saturday) and he and Dan Girardi are back where they usually are. I know Girardi's fancy stats aren't great, but I've always felt comfortable with Girardi and McDonagh at the top of the pairing. Maybe it's a comfort thing.

- Kevin Klein, Matt Hunwick and Dan Boyle? All solid. I've seen reports that Boyle is still recovering and isn't 100% yet. I can kind of believe it but he is getting better.

- The more I watch Kevin Hayes the more I can't believe the Rangers landed him. He is already good, imagine what happens when he figures it all out and puts everything together.

- Much better from Chris Kreider this weekend, more of the same from J.T. Miller (which is a really good thing).

- Tanner Glass even looked OK these past two games, but that doesn't mean when Lee Stempniak is back and healthy he should stay in the lineup. That fourth line of Jesper Fast, Dominic Moore and Stempniak is miles better than with Glass on it. Facts are facts.

- So Toronto rules the Rangers goal that wasn't a goal "never crossed the goal line" despite MSG having a replay angle that very clearly shows the puck crossing the line. Officials on the ice told Alain Vigneault the goalie was pushed in which is why it wasn't a goal. How is there so much confusion over a play like that? Remember last year when the MSG replays clearly showed the puck over the line with 0.1 seconds left and Toronto ruled it a no-goal because their clock "didn't match up with the clock at MSG?" How does that make sense. I really don't understand why this is so hard.

- Six for six is a good feeling. Time to make it seven or seven on Tuesday.