- You knew the streak was going to end eventually. As nice as it is to see your team running through a massive hot streak and winning game after game there's always that pit in your stomach that the other shoe is going to drop. And it dropped in Dallas Monday night.
- Overall the Rangers played pretty poorly, which is sort of encouraging because Dallas is a very talented team and the Rangers hung with them for the entire game. Throw away a bad Henrik Lundqvist goal, bad penalties and some horrific offensive transition and the Rangers could have easily won this game.
- Speaking of this being a winnable game, the Stars do not have a great defense, but they did a really good job of clogging up the neutral zone and keeping the Rangers transition at a minimum. This was on display with about six minutes left in the third period where the Rangers couldn't cross the red line let alone getting a quality scoring chance. And as we've seen in the past, when the Rangers can't move in transition their offense kind of putters out.
- Still, Kevin Klein hit the post, Dan Boyle had a remarkable chance that he got robbed on, Rick Nash had the puck slide off his stick after a beautiful move on a breakaway. The Rangers had their chances, but Lady Luck had other ideas.
- That's not to take away from some really foolish play. Derick Brassard took a lazy penalty at a really bad time in the third, a lot of the Rangers didn't seem interested in going to the front of the net and the Rangers defense (especially in the third) couldn't get the puck out of their own end. That's not even mentioning ... well,
- Quick note here then more at the bottom if you want it. Tanner Glass takes two horrible penalties, the Rangers get scored on during one of the penalty kills and then Glass is on the ice for another goal. On the second goal (the bad one by Lundqvist) Kevin Hayes makes the initial turnover, but Glass had abandoned his man at the point and instead of easily picking up the loose puck Glass tracks back, misses his man and lets the puck stay deep. If he's in position that's not a goal -- but again, Hayes needs to be better and Hank can't let that one in.
- And how Alain Vigneault thought keeping Jesper Fast -- one of the Rangers best defensive players -- out of the lineup against a team as skilled as the Stars doesn't make much sense to me either. But what do I know, I'm just a blogger.
- One of the guys who returning from sitting was the Rangers' best player, too. J.T. Miller rifled a shot into the top corner for the Rangers' only power play goal and opening tally of the night. Miller was pretty quickly promoted form the fourth line and made an impact. Remind me again why he was sitting? While you're at it, remind me again why he started the game on the fourth line.
- And that pass from Mats Zuccarello? Awesome. He's done that a few times this year; that pass to the streaking player who breaks through the defenseman at the blue line for a semi-breakaway. That's an impressive pass because Zuccarello needs to anticipate where Miller is going to be and the puck has to be on his tape. Which it was.
- Hayes continues to be a bright spot. What a brilliant deflection on the Marc Staal shot from the point. He's quietly turning into a very, very solid third-line center which is fantastic since his NHL experience is about 30 games. I really think the Rangers hit the jackpot with this kid. I really do.
- One of Chris Kreider's better games this year. Used his speed really well.
- Boyle, I thought, had one of his strongest games of the year. A power play assist and involved all night. Yes, he missed a glorious chance in the third but there really wasn't much he could do. Easy to say "lift the puck" now, but that's a split-second decision where there's no right answer. If he takes a second to lift the puck and it's stopped you'd be asking why he didn't just let it go.
- Ryan McDonagh had an assist but an otherwise forgettable game. Klein had his worst game in a long time. Staal was off and on. John Moore will probably sit on New Year's Eve for Matt Hunwick, so that's all you need to know about his game right now.
- Soft goal aside -- and Staal might have tipped it -- Lundqvist was the only reason this game was anywhere near close at all. He made a few sensational saves to keep the score at one. And on the third goal he was completely left to dry by Mr. McDonagh.
- Non-NHL positives? Pavel Buchnevich continued to dominate with an assist for Russia last night. Anthony Duclair had a goal and an assist for Canada in their win.
Stop reading here if you're sick of reading about you know who ...
There has been a lot of backlash from the beat reporters about the "chatter" surrounding Glass this year. The "blame" falls on some of the bigger boys in the blogging community of which I will humbly say we're a part of. And we're obviously one of the bigger voices in the "why is this happening" community when it comes to qualified players like Fast, Lee Stempniak, Duclair and Miller sitting for Glass with no reasonable explanation. I explained why this was a problem yesterday.
My biggest issue -- as I've pointed out time and time again -- is that if Miller, Duclair, Stempniak or Fast had the game Glass did Monday night they would sit the next game. Glass gets a double standard and no one seems to ask why.
I agree the post-game scrum is NOT the place for those questions. But if, say, Stempniak were to sit for Fast to come back in before the matchup against Florida (which is my guess as to what is going to happen) I think someone should ask why Glass has gotten a pass to this point. It's not an unfair question. It's not being a "second-guessing fan-boy." It's Vigneault's job to answer the question. He's not going to bite and I think a fair amount of fans want to know the answer to the question.
The point isn't to attack the beat reporters. It's not. They do more work than you know and I've met a lot of them and most are genuinely good people. I'd like to see the question asked because I'd like to know what the answer is. At the end of the day, however, it's their right to ask what they want when they want and they shouldn't be individually attacked for it ever.
Anyway, enough of that, thoughts on the game?