Full disclosure, I did not watch the game last night. I also didn't watch the win over the Anaheim Ducks. Why? Because I'm an old man and I have to wake up early for work the next day. Is that sad? Of course it is! In my defense, Thursday night was superstition more than anything. I missed the Ducks game and the Rangers won, so I had to do the same for the Kings game right?
Anyway, because I didn't watch the game this won't be your traditional notes. More like little mini-articles about some recent trends.
Kevin Klein Goal Scoring Machine - I have already tried to understand the inner-workings of this sudden goal-scoring barrage Klein is going through. It sort of defies all forms of logic. There are two things that you need to keep in mind with his goal scoring:
1) It can't be banked on to be consistent, since this is the first time in his career he's ever scored more than four goals in a season.
2) You take it as long as he keeps giving it to you. The truth of the matter is Klein has score a plethora of really big goals this year, has provided the much-needed depth scoring from the blue line the Rangers lacked when Dan Boyle was hurt/struggling and now he's just another form of secondary scoring.
I don't think it would be unfair to say Klein is a big reason why the Rangers have been so good, and why the start of the year wasn't actually worse. He scored another goal against the Kings and registered an assist against the Ducks.
J.T. Miller Is Coming Into His Own - I have always maintained that Miller could be a special player in this league if given the chance to figure things out. He had some off-ice issues he needed to figure out which he did. He has three assists on this Western swing, and he's been a terror for opposing goaltenders. Why? Because he's planting himself in front of the net and going to the dirty areas of the ice.
If he continues to develop, along with guys like Kevin Hayes, Chris Kreider, Anthony Duclair and Pavel Buchnevich? Whoa.
That's Why Lee Stempniak Shouldn't Be A Spare Part - I touched on this previously as well. There's a reason why so many people can't process the thought that Stempniak is too good for the fourth line but not good enough to play every night. Forget the goal he scored -- which the guy sitting for him can't replicate -- Stempniak does so many things away from the puck and in his own zone. There's a reason why his advanced stats are so good. He's a good hockey player who should be playing every game.
Is The Fourth Line Actually Better This Year Than It Was Last Year? - This idea deserves a longer story -- and it will get one soon. However, I don't think it's unfair to ask the question. I was talking to my boss this morning (he fills me in on the late games when I don't watch them and he doesn't fire me so he's a good guy) and I said I thought the Rangers have two third lines. You could easily use the Miller - Dominic Moore - Stempniak line as your third group and be just fine.
That's a really good thing, folks.
Cam Talbot Is A Good Goalie - There were a lot of people who though Talbot was going to regress hard this year. And he has regressed to somewhat more human numbers, but his 92.5SV% and 2.14 GAA is still unreal. He's been a steadying presence for the Rangers again this year despite early season struggles. And his ability to bounce back from down 2-0 (after a soft goal no less) to dominant on Thursday is a great sign.
Redemption Is Nice, But It's Lesser Redemption - I saw a lot of "revenge is a dish bets served cold" stories and comments. Sort of, but not really. Winning last night doesn't replace the Kings' engraving on the Stanley Cup. However, I think it's a massive win for the team's confidence. Even though they're rolling, I think this win might be the most important of every game they've won on this streak.