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Rangers Vs. Blue Jackets: Well That Was Pleasant

Notes from the Rangers win over the Blue Jackets.

Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

- There are going to be times in this league where you lose games you should have won and win games you should have lost. Last night, for the most part, was the latter for the New York Rangers. Outside of the final five minutes of the first period and the final five minutes of the third period the Rangers were either outplayed our even with Blue Jackets in terms of intensity. Not the best recipe for success.

- And that's not a plea to bring more toughness into the lineup; which people were doing when Columbus was throwing their weight around in the first period. Here's the thing: Skill trumps toughness every time. All those hits the Blue Jackets were throwing in the first meant two things 1) they didn't have the puck, 2) they weren't pressing because they were trying to hit/didn't have the puck.

- I don't care about another team "throwing their weight around" since they'd do it regardless of who is in the lineup. Asking another enforcer to answer the bell doesn't do anything. More skill = more scoring which is how you win games.

- The Rangers got two power plays out of Columbus acting like thugs and they didn't capitalize. If they score two goals there and add Mats Zuccarello's final-minute tally it's a 3-0 lead and you can start grinding the game out. The Rangers didn't and it kept things interesting.

- You should judge power plays not by their results but by the chances they create and how dangerous they are. And if you did that last night those two Rangers power plays were awful.

- Henrik Lundqvist is the biggest reason why the Rangers won this game. He saved their tails more times than I care to count.

- Zuccarello had two goals -- and good for him by the way -- but was really the only noticeable player on the top line. I don't think Rick Nash or Derick Brassard were bad by any means but they haven't really broken into their regular play yet.

- Kevin Hayes scored the game-winner from the corner, obviously, but outside of that I thought he was pretty good. Derek Stepan had an assist and Kreider was OK. They used their speed well but the Rangers transition game wasn't where it needed to be thanks to some poor defensive breakouts.

- Oscar Lindberg, you cannot stop him you can only hope to contain him. Seriously, though what a start for this kid. Alain Vigneault has had him on a shorter leash (just 12 minutes Friday night) but he played great in his own end and obviously scored a huge goal. Two goals in as many nights; he's doing his part on the whole "you have to bring offense to stay up here" thing.

- J.T. Miller is going to be so special. He bats the puck out of the air to stop a clearing attempt, smacks it off the boards to make a perfect pass to Lindberg who was streaking. We analyzed Miller's two assists in the first game Thursday, but I could do it again for that play alone. Three assists in two games. And they've been huge.

- I should note that while Hayes' goal was lucky -- again, though, you need to shoot to get lucky -- you need to give the Rangers credit for standing tall when the cards were really stacked against them. They could have sat around and moped after Saad's goal but they didn't, and that's why they walked away with the two points.

- I really liked Viktor Stalberg, too. Jesper Fast, Jarret Stoll and Dominic Moore did what they had to do in their own end, although Stoll took a really lazy penalty.

- Dan Girardi had another rough around the edges game. And man some people are saaaaaaaaaaaallllllllttttyyy about him not doing so well. Dan Boyle was rough as well. Keith Yandle looked fine. The defense as a whole wasn't very good. Ryan McDonagh needs to be smarter than that third period over the boards penalty, but he was by far and away the best defender on the ice.

- One thing to note: With a competent fourth line there wasn't a single player without at least 11 minutes of ice time. That makes a big difference as the season wears on. Most time on ice? Kevin Klein at 21:20.

- Is there a rule I didn't know about where the Rangers aren't allowed to have healthy faces/throats?