Quick note guys, I've been really busy at work so February was a tough month for me to moderate things on here the way I usually do. However, in the past three weeks I've gotten more e-mails than ever before about people harassing other people for different opinions. I don't care if you're a stats guy and another guy isn't a stats guy. Argue with respect. Those wars where the two sides circle around each other, attack each other and pollute the comment section don't happen here. Let that crap go on in the other places. We're better than that.
- May as well start this off with the man of the hour, Martin St. Louis. The past 120 minutes he's been the Rangers' best player by a mile. Some of that has to do with the struggles of Rick Nash, but most of it has to do with St. Louis being one of the most dangerous offensive forces in the NHL.
- I wouldn't have been shocked if it would have taken St. Louis a few games to get comfortable. Remember, as much as he's a lethal goal scorer, his bread and butter is his ability to find space and make things happen for the other four guys on the ice with him. Sometimes it's hard to do that when you've only been playing with guys for three days -- something he alluded to after the game was over.
- Still, that pass to Derek Stepan for the game winning goal? Magic. Since he stepped onto the ice as a Ranger he's been a monster. An absolute monster. And the St. Louis - Brad Richards - Carl Hagelin line had a corsi in the 80's if I'm not mistaken. Possession domination.
- The other thing the trade does? The Rangers now have three legitimate scoring lines with two lethal scorers. This isn't like when Marian Gaborik and Nash were together and the Rangers had two scorers on the roster. St. Louis is such a complete player (much like Nash) and it forces teams to pick between the two when they decide who to put their top line against. And don't sleep on that third line, either.
- Ryan McDonagh. What a game. He's such a special player, I mean, really special. I know we joke about it a lot, but McDonagh has a potential to become something more than we even think within the organization. His shorthanded goal was huge last night. 11 goals so far this year. Would it shock you if he scored 15? Got close to 20? He should be a Norris Trophy finalist at the worst. In my book that trophy is his.
- I'll quote myself here. Something I said last night on Twitter:
Rangers fans beg for home grown talent for years. Scream when Sather brings in free agents rather than give the kids a chance. And hate Stepan.
It makes no sense. He gets a lot of hate here, too. Why? Because he held out? Right now he's shooting at a criminally low 7.1%. His career average is 11.2%. If you translate his shots this year so far into his career shooting percentage, he would have 17 goals. He also has 31 assists, good for first on the team until St. Louis (33) joined. I don't get the hate. He's going to surpass 50 points on an admittedly down year for him. You have a real talent here, just enjoy it.
- Nash (goal and an assist) had a good game. Stepan was slow at first but really picked things up and that goal for the winner was an absolute beauty. Trust me, that's harder than it looks. Chris Kreider was good, although his defensive gaff cost the Rangers the first goal of the game late in the first.
- The Rangers got a win they desperately needed, however. They showed a real battle level and found a way to make it happen. Now they're three points clear of Columbus with two more ROWs, although Columbus has a game in hand.