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Rangers Vs. Capitals: That's Seven In A Row

Notes from the Rangers win over the Capitals.

Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

- A part of me really wants to call the Rangers lucky. Despite dominating (and I mean dominating) the first 40 minutes of the game, the Rangers went into absolute panic mode for a good chunk of the third. But the more I thought about it, some of it had to do with the Capitals getting a lucky goal themselves they used a spark. However, the way the Rangers played from the Capitals' first goal until the double-minor was inexcusable. If Henrik Lundqvist wasn't in beast mode the Rangers could have easily lost this game in regulation.

- However, give credit where it's due: The Rangers grabbed their 5-on-3 opportunity by the throat and put the game away. I'm actually more impressed with the win because of the pressure the Rangers put on themselves (read: almost shot themselves in the foot) and still found a way to win.

- I am a big believer in momentum in hockey. I know a lot of people don't believe in it, but I'm a firm believer in it. Part of my belief in momentum is that a team can get a swagger about them; which is what I think the Rangers are starting to get right now. Remember last year when everything finally clicked? I think we're getting close to that point this year. When the Rangers transition the puck, they're so, so good at keeping other teams on their back foot because of their speed. And it's not just Chris Kreider or Carl Hagelin anymore. The Rangers as a team seem faster. And while my brain tells me it's not possible, I really don't think there's a faster player in the NHL than Rick Nash on the second half of a give-and-go.

- Nash is really the motor that runs this Rangers' machine. When he's going he's impossible to stop. Two goals and an assist in the game -- and he should have gotten credit for the 5-on-3 goal which robbed him of a hat trick. I think the most impressive thing about Nash this year has been how much of the offense he's been able to create by himself. The first goal is lucky more than anything else, but that puck doesn't hit the back of the net if he's not crashing the net. The second goal is just a brilliant release that he put in a perfect spot. And Nash's third goal that actually went to Martin St. Louis is just a great shot from a dangerous angle. Factor in how good he is in all three zones and it's just special to watch.

- Nice to see St. Louis score two goals to break him out of his little funk. St. Louis is such an important part of this offense, but he often gets overlooked when he has struggled because of how good Nash has played. That's a good thing -- and it's the main reason why you need multiple sources of offense -- but I really think when he simplifies his game he's at his best. Over the weekend against Carolina? St. Louis was fancy and ineffective. Last night against the Capitals? Straight and simple and he scored two.

- Derek Stepan, 19 points in 20 games and continues to be a monster. Mats Zuccarello had two assists and he's also starting to break out a little. Derick Brassard (who has been great all year) with two assists (and 26 points in 30 games). Say what you will, but the Rangers are getting some depth scoring.

- Without a doubt, Dan Boyle's best game as a Ranger. He talked about how difficult the start of the year has been for him and how bad he's played. Some of it was admittedly him getting 100% healthy. He's been poised for a breakout for a few games and he was awesome on the power play Tuesday night. That's why he was brought here.

- I said this over the weekend but I'll say it again. I am comfortable with Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh as the team's top pairing. Outside of the power play snipe by Alex Ovechkin they threw a blanket on him most of the game. The third period disaster sequence I put a lot more blame on the forwards standing around than the defense, but they need to take some blame there, too.

- Seven wins in a row. The Rangers have moved themselves even with Washington for third in the Metro (the Rangers have two games in hand), six points behind the Islanders (the Rangers have two games in hand) and nine points behind the Penguins (Rangers, once again, have two games in hand).

Now it's time to enjoy the Christmas break. Enjoy the time with your families, guys and gals!