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Rangers Vs. Flames: Rangers Find A Way To Win

Notes from the Rangers win over the Flames.

Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

- While the Rangers were sleepwalking their way through a 1-0 deficit that was creeping over the halfway mark of the game I started thinking about you guys (well, rather, what I was going to write here). Those are the types of games where if you lose there are a lot of built in excuses; the Rangers were coming off a tough loss to the Flyers, on the road the day before having to come back home and expected to bring it against a team that had a day to sit around New York and relax. But if you win a game like that -- even if you don't look particularly great in the effort -- you chalk it up to the team having guts and being "winners."

- For what it's worth, I do think the latter is true to an extent. Good teams do find a way to win that game, especially when they have cement in their legs. And I do think the Rangers got a little more of a pep in their step after they broke through for their first goal. The final tally would see corsi be almost equal for both teams (a 45-44 edge for Calgary) and scoring chances giving the Rangers a 24-20 nod. Per War On Ice the Rangers had a 9-6 high-quality scoring chance lead as well. Overall not a bad showing, but that first period was blerg.

- I thought the Rangers third and fourth line were forces in this game. Emerson Etem notched an assist on the Dan Girardi goal and was a +8 in shot differential despite getting ZERO offensive zone starts at evens. Those are pretty impressive numbers for a kid who can't seem to crack the lineup outside of an injury.

- I loved what I saw from J.T. Miller, Kevin Hayes and Oscar Lindberg, too. Lindberg scored his fifth goal of the year, Hayes had an assist and Miller was a +5 in shot differential on the night. Good all around. Especially Hayes, who is finding his way right now.

- The fourth line (be it with Viktor Stalberg or Etem) has been a revelation. Having a real fourth line Alain Vigneault can utilize no matter what the situation is an enormous edge. Dominic Moore and Jarret Stoll had a fantastic game last night and Stoll's 60+ FO percentage is a nice luxury to have on the bench. I will argue against the importance of faceoff percentage overall but there are undeniably times when you really need to win a draw and having him there is nice.

- To my earlier point: The reason good teams win a game like this is because they get scoring from their depth. The Rangers bottom six won them this game, especially when the top guys weren't getting anything going.

- Derick Brassard scored a goal in an otherwise forgettable game for him. The only reason he's in this recap right now is for me to ask a pressing question: why doesn't he shoot more? Brassard has to have one of the most lethal slap shots in the league (when he actually lets one go) so why keep it hidden. His goal Sunday night was a quick snap from the circle, but still.

- Antti Raanta was spectacular, yet again. This game was going to get ugly if he allowed a goal on that shorthanded breakaway, but he shut the door and gave the Rangers a chance to find their game (which they eventually did). Great for him.

- Girardi is becoming sort of like a grenade Vigneault needs to figure out where to throw. When he was paired with Marc Staal the two combined for a horrific sequence of events that saw Staal turn the puck over and Girardi glide away from his man to the point where he needed to slide across the crease to try and (unsuccessfully) stop his man from scoring. Then Girardi was paired with Keith Yandle and the two got pinned in their own zone most of the night. This was one of Girardi's better games (even without the goal) but he was still a -4 on the night bringing his season total up to a -54 on the year. In 10 games in that puts him on a pace for a -442 season. Yikes.

- I actually like Jesper Fast (an assist) up on the second line. He played the least of all players with just over 12 minutes. That's good shifting by Vigneault to get everyone on the ice.

- Kevin Klein continues to make me look like an idiot.

- Thoughts?