- This team, man. We go from a string of wins where the Rangers offense needs to outscore their defensive mistakes to a victory the Rangers only get because the defense locks it down herculean style. It makes no sense.
I have always maintained truly great teams are like chameleons. Those teams can morph and evolve game-by-game to keep marching forward; the types of teams who can just as easily win a 1-0 contest as they can if a game turns into a 6-5 barn burner.
That was last night. Despite multiple opportunities the Rangers created, the offensive well ran dry and the Rangers found a way to win anyway. Both Kevin Hayes (who scored the loan goal) and J.T. Miller were robbed at the doorstep and Hayes hit a post as well. But for the Rangers to overcome that and win the game -- down Rick Nash and Henrik Lundqvist, no less -- was impressive.
- We may as well talk about him at the top: Mr. Hayes. My word has he figured things out. And the confidence that's started to ooze out of him is making him even better. Three months ago Hayes would have never even thought of that inside outside deke that moved Karri Ramo out of the crease and needed a magical Dennis Wideman effort to keep Hayes from notching his second of the game. Like I mentioned above, Hayes scored the only goal off a perfect feed from Derick Brassard (although what a perfect finish) and hit a post. Could have easily had three goals. Could have easily had a few assists. Best overall player for the Rangers last night by a mile.
- The best past is Hayes has so much room to grow. He looked comfortable on the top line last night (replacing Nash on the wing) but even at his best you still see the flashes of what's to come. He's learning to use his size (he was great in the corners) and is a monster in front of the net. It makes me so happy I need to break up his positives into two paragraphs, too.
- The Rangers' next best forward? Probably a tie between Mats Zuccarello (led the team with five shots), Brassard (an assist) and J.T. Miller (a fight, a glorious scoring chance and a 50% FO%). Derek Stepan and Martin St. Louis were good in pieces of the game. I didn't notice Chris Kreider much and I thought Carl Hagelin and Dominic Moore were really good in terms of possession. Overall a good day for the forwards.
- And a good night for the defensemen, who played pretty well top to bottom. No real complaints with any of the defensive corps.
- You Know Who played about as bad a game as I've seen in a while. And if there's not enough evidence for you by just watching him, the way Moore and Lee Stempniak flourished when Alain Vigneault sat Glass for most of the third should be enough to see he's simply the worst option out there (even against Oscar Lindberg).
- And if Miller gets yelled at by the media for fighting, and then the media jokes about how the fight didn't change the outcome of the game; then how are these guys defending Tanner Glass with a straight face. Although now they're suddenly concerned he's not working out. Gee, who could have guessed that?
- I'm a little upset Lindberg just played eight minutes, and I'm even more upset he was sent straight down to Hartford thanks to cap restraints. Want to know how to save about $900K worth of cap space? Send down Glass.