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Rangers Vs. Blue Jackets: The Hardest Option Possible

Notes from the Rangers shootout win over the Blue Jackets.

Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

- Let me say this at the top: I'm glad the Rangers pulled their heads out of their collective butts and secured the two points last night, because it would have been even worse if they fully imploded.

- That being said, win, lose or draw, that's about as poor a finish as I can remember. The minute the Rangers went up 3-0 they took their foot off the gas, got dominated the rest of the second period and had a horrific third period. One day Alain Vigneault will learn to not let his team sit back on a lead in the third period. One shot in 20 minutes of play up by a goal? Embarrassment is putting it lightly.

- And since we're talking about embarrassments we may as well talk about the power play. Another just spectacular (note: it wasn't spectacular at all) performance. Up 3-1 the Rangers had a chance to turn the tide after Columbus grabbed some momentum with their first goal. The man advantage didn't even come close. In fact, it was only the overtime power play where the Rangers really generated anything, and even that power play was a disaster on many levels.

- Just to confirm: The Rangers don't keep Anton Stralman because they want an experienced savvy defenseman who can move the puck on the point, and then they don't use that defenseman (Dan Boyle) on the power play? Something has to be going on because there's no logical reason that should keep happening.

- The Rangers probably win that game pretty easily with Henrik Lundqvist in net. The first goal wasn't great -- if Talbot keeps himself anchored that puck doesn't slide under his pads -- but it wasn't soft, either. The second goal was a total blown coverage, and Tanner Glass provided absolutely no net-side support from Artem Anisimov who have time to make three efforts at putting the puck over the line. The third goal, however, was an abomination straight from the depths of Hell. I don't know how that puck goes in and I honestly don't want to spend more time thinking about it because it will upset me. That goal reminded me of the Johnny Boychuk goal against the Islanders last week. Both goals simply can't happen.

- And yet, Talbot made some really, really good saves in overtime and down the stretch in the third. I don't know why the softies get by him when the tougher shots get stopped, but it is what it is at this point.

- Kevin Hayes continues to be a positive, with the opening goal and just a great all around game. I think the best part about Hayes is how good he is becoming in all three zones. The past few weeks he's become one of Vigneault's more trusted penalty killers and got the job done again last night. Really good stuff from Hayes, who now has 11 goals and 26 points in 55 games.

- Martin St. Louis continues his hot streak, scoring two goals in regulation and adding another in the shootout. St. Louis has 18 goals on the year despite not scoring for 15 games as of last week.

- Ryan McDonagh (an assist), Derek Stepan (two assists), Carl Hagelin (an assist) and Marc Staal (an assist) provided some secondary scoring as well. Rick Nash, Mats Zuccarello (who shockingly passed up a prime scoring opportunity again) and Derick Brassard were all really good without scoring.

- J.T. Miller, I thought, was a really good physical presence last night to go along with his offensive abilities. A really great overall game from him. He really better not be traded for spare parts this deadline.

- Which brings me to Glass. Jesper Fast is apparently skating and should be back shortly. This needs to be the end of Glass. If your debate is he brings a needed edge and toughness, last night is the final blow to the argument. Brandon Dubinsky went off on the Rangers. He harassed St. Louis from the start and did everything short of bend him over his knee and give him a spanking. He threw high hits, ran him whenever he could and chopped at him after the whistle. And -- for reasons that go beyond my understanding since the Rangers had the last change -- he was even on the ice with Dubinsky a lot throughout the game. If Glass is supposed to be Mr. Enforcer, and a guy who keeps the opposing team from throwing their weight around, he failed miserably last night. Add in his blown coverage on the Blue Jackets' second goal and his overall poor possession play and it's been what we've seen all year. So if Lee Stempniak is the guy sitting -- or worse, Miller -- when Fast comes back it's going to be a problem.

- Despite the warts, 7-1-2 with Lundqvist out.