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Rangers Vs. Coyotes: Getting The Job Done

Notes from the Rangers win over the Coyotes.

Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

- Getting the job done is, sometimes, more important than how the job gets done. Since Henrik Lundqvist has gone down with an injury that's pretty much been the case for the Rangers. Since he's been injured Cam Talbot is 9-1-2. That doesn't mean those wins were pretty. It doesn't mean the Rangers have been doing everything right (far from it, in fact). But it does mean the Rangers have 20 of a possible 24 points over that stretch. Doesn't matter how you get it done, just get it done.

- I will say, though, this team's "never say die" attitude is amazing. Down 3-1 with all the air out of the building, the Rangers once again pushed and pushed and pushed until they broke through the wall. Chris Kreider (two goals), Kevin Hyaes (two assists) and Lee Stempniak (two goals) were animals. Not just because they were the main sources of offense but because they dominated the game from start to finish. Secondary scoring at its best, because Rick Nash (who probably shouldn't have played), Martin St. Louis (horrible), Derick Brassard (pointless) and Derek Stepan (pointless) didn't exactly light things up.

- Few notes on the three golden boys of the night, starting with Kreider. Full marks to Kreider for staying in position on his second goal. Most every player in the NHL takes their shot on a breakaway and glides themselves out of the play. Kreider stayed in front of Mike Smith, and it payed off since the rebound was there for him to finish. His speed and physicality was on display all night, and he continues to add offense. After a slow start he's got 33 points (16 goals) in 58 games.

- Hayes continues to grow in ways I'm not sure we were expecting him to at this point. Two assists last night, both of them very different but both of them amazing. The first was a patient player moving into scoring position and floating a perfect pass to a streaking Kreider. Finesse, vision, touch, skill and a great hockey IQ. The second assist came with strength, pushing a defenseman off the puck to wrangle it in open ice and throwing it to the net. Also a smart hockey IQ, but that assist came from pure strength and size. Two different aspects to one player.

- One more note on Hayes. That's exactly why Glen Sather doesn't need to go out and get a third line center. The Rangers don't need one. Hayes has become that guy, he's getting better and the dot and better and better each game. Why are you creating a problem where you don't have one.

- Stempniak has gotten a really raw deal from Alain Vigneault in my mind. Often playing less minutes than Tanner Glass (and, you know, having to actually play on a line with Glass) I never felt like he was given a chance to succeed. On the rare occasions where Stempniak played with Jesper Fast and Dominic Moore this year that line flourished as a defensive monster who can add some offense. When Glass plays on the line it becomes a liability. Two very different situations. Last night Stempniak was allowed to be himself and he scored two goals. That won't happen every game, but he's a steal at $900K.

- J.T. Miller played just nine minutes again. I can't tell you why. I can't for the life of me figure out why he's not getting a fair shake. If the Rangers trade Miller for a rental it's a massive failure from top to bottom. Asset management (and really, player evaluations) need to be better than that. Here's to hoping they are.

- The defense was good all around outside of Marc Staal's horrific early-game turnover. And outside of the five-on-three and subsequent five-on-four. Outside of that, it was good to go.

- Another strange game by Talbot, too. Let in at least one (and maybe two, but I don't know how much blame I'm giving him for the second goal on the PK) soft goal and once again made two or three amazing saves. That leg save off a last-minute deflection to keep the game 3-3 in the third? Outstanding. The softie(s)? Yuck.

- So the Rangers are in first place after all the early struggles. It really is amazing how far this team has come -- and how far they need to go. Sit Glass, don't make any trades at the deadline and move on. Will that happen? I doubt it.