- That game was, without a doubt, a disaster on so many levels for the Rangers. The only thing keeping it from being an unmitigated disaster was the Rangers somehow walking away with two points. If the opponent was a team even slightly better than the Leafs the Rangers lose that game, and that can't happen. In those types of games (playing a lesser opponent and trying jockeying for playoff positioning) you need to beat the lesser team, which the Rangers did, but it wasn't easy.
- That's not to say it couldn't have been easy. The Rangers absolutely dominated possession and out-hustled the Leafs for about 55 minutes last night. Defensive breakdowns, shaky goaltending and poor decision making almost did the Rangers in. And what a sight it would have been to see Rangers social media explode after dominating an opponent and losing because of a few mistakes.
- And, to be fair, that's sort of my point. James Reimer stood on his head. The first period could have seen the Rangers winning 4-0 and the Leafs with even less life than they showed the final 40 minutes. But a total defensive breakdown on the power play late in the first gave Morgan Rielly more real estate than a million-dollar mansion and he didn't miss the top corner. Then Cam Talbot (more on him in a minute) allowed a softy -- although Joffrey Lupul was all alone in front and tried to deflect the puck -- and the Leafs had life again. Then in the third Rielly scored 40 seconds into the period and Ryan McDonagh scored on his own net to tie the game for the Leafs. What I'm trying to say is, the Rangers have a ton of chances and only capitalized on a few of them. The Leafs had, like, six chances and scored on four of them. Not exactly a recipe for success.
- As usual, the knee-jerk reaction team was out in force last night. I mean, really representing. This was the first game in the four games since the Lundqvist injury that I truly thought Talbot was missing a few beats. I don't think Lundqvist was stopping a single goal against Nashville that Talbot didn't and I agree the second Stars' goal was soft but that's nit picking. Fact of the matter is a bad game was bound to happen, and people are used to the perfection that is Henrik Lundqvist. Anyone was going to be a big step down. I still think Talbot is one of the better backups in the league and I still take my chances with him. I had an opportunity to talk about crab people last night, and I'm not going to pass that up.
The people who yelled about Lundqvist being washed up all year and are now yelling about how bad Talbot is are essentially crab people.— Joe Fortunato (@BlueshirtBanter) February 11, 2015
- There will be a longer story on this (maybe today, but certainly tomorrow) but trading for a backup goaltender is not the answer. That's the panic talking. After one game. The Rangers won the game.
- Offensively there was little to complain about. The Rangers cycled the puck really well, moved it around the Leafs with ease and scored five goals. If the goalie on the other end isn't standing on his head the Rangers probably score more.
- The new Derick Brassard (two assists) - Rick Nash (three assists) and Mats Zuccarello (two goals) line sure was productive, no? Although they are a bit strange:
So this new Brass - Nash - Zucc line is working nicely. But it's like bizarro world. Nash assists and Zuccarello scores. Makes no sense— Joe Fortunato (@BlueshirtBanter) February 11, 2015
- Kevin Hayes -- who really does have star potential -- scored another goal simply for being in front of the net. J.T. "I really need to fight for playing time? Seriously??" Miller was one of the Rangers most active players last night, which says something. Alain Vigneault only played him for 11 minutes because you know who needs his ice time, but I love Miller with Hayes. Two big bodies who crash the net.
- Back to Zuccarello for a minute. The Rangers need to sign him to a contract extension as soon as possible. Thanks to his little puck luck slump, his numbers aren't as high as they can be. But he's regressing (in the good way) now, and he's getting more expensive by the game. Pay the man and move on. Make it work.
- Who doesn't love Dominic Moore.
- I talked about Martin St. Louis about as much as I noticed him last night.
- Tanner Glass completely loses Lupul (who distracted Talbot) on the second Leafs goal, was on the ice for another goal against, was eaten alive by any line he was matched up again and was still on the ice with less than two minutes to go in a one goal game. This will eventually cost Vigneault and when we all scream the media will go "you just don't see the other things he brings to the table" without actually telling us what they are. P.S: He played more than Lee Stempniak (who I thought was good) last night. Let that sink in.
- The Rangers have a lot of games in hand over the teams ahead and behind them, but you need to win those games for them to matter. Don't get me wrong, they're nice to have, but you need to get the points out of them. That's why last night's win was so important despite it being a horrifying experience. The Rangers needed the points and they got them. Pick yourself up, forget about the game and move on.