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Rangers Vs. Blackhawks: An Enormous Win

Notes from the Rangers win over the Blackhawks

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

- I really think the Rangers played one of their best games of the season in the overtime loss to Detroit. I don't think the Rangers were as dominant against Chicago, but they still played an unbelievably good game. Funny, though, that the game they play worse in they get the overtime win, and the game they completely dominated they lose on a fluke goal in overtime.

- Before we get into all the good (and there was just so much of it) I want to talk about a few bad things. The Rangers got Keith Yandle exactly for that power play with just over two minutes left in the third deadlocked at 0-0. Score a goal on the man advantage there and you win the game. The power play has been dreadful, and while Yandle has been one of the best players with the man advantage, everyone needs to be better there.

- Remember when I talked about how the Rangers are like chameleons (I know, I've mentioned this like 50 times)? This stretch has really proved that. Crushed Nashville with offense, stifled Detroit with defense (and lost on two fluky goals) and beat Chicago with amazing defense and a timely goal. Those are three fantastic teams. The Rangers have earned five of a possible six points since that game against Nashville. The matchup against the Islanders Tuesday will also be enormous and then the game against the Capitals will go a long way to keeping them as far down the latter as possible.

- I guess what I'm trying to say is, the Rangers have been really, really good against really, really good teams.

- Not hearing a lot of complaints about Cam Talbot recently. This is exactly why I waved my hands to calm the waters when everyone was panicking over a few bad games in a row. Talbot is a good goaltender, and was always much better than that little stretch where he struggled. He isn't Henrik Lundqvist (and he never will be) but he's played really well against some very good hockey teams.

- The offensive well ran dry two games in a row, but not because there weren't chances. The Rangers had a slew of chances against both Detroit and Chicago and if Jimmy Howard and Corey Crawford didn't stand on their heads it would have been a much different two games. I would be more worried if the Rangers weren't generating chances than if they are generating chances but aren't finishing. Still, there is a reason to be concerned.

- Rick Nash was an animal. Forget the offense he created, he was a beast in the defensive zone and in transition. When he's not killing you with his offense he's making your life miserable coming through the zone. He really is a three-zone superstar.

- I thought the third line was once again a factor in a good way. Kevin Hayes had an outstanding game to not hit the scoresheet, and looked like he wanted to make his former team realize what they lost. That group had a few Grade-A chances and really dictated the tempo.

- The fourth line really is a beautiful thing now, no? Multiple defensive zone starts that turn into neutral or offensive zone faceoffs. Three defensively responsible players who can take on a bigger role if needed. And they had some of the Rangers best scoring chances. That's not a bad thing.

- James Sheppard has been some acquisition, no? Jumped up to the third line when J.T. Miller missed a shift and made a few highlight reel defensive plays -- the best being a diving check to keep Chicago from an odd man rush the other way. Some player.

- The media suddenly realize this fourth line is much better without Tanner Glass but also throwing Lee Stempniak into the mix as well as being part of the problem is kind of hilarious. Some will do anything not to admit a mistake.

- Martin St. Louis goes from offensive hero to invisible pretty quickly these days. I do think he's the victim of people expecting too much from him. St. Louis is here to score points, period. That's his role. He's not really a possession driving player anymore and while he hustles on defense it's not going to be the thing you notice about him. If he scores rather than hits the post it's a different conversation from most about him. I thought he was alright in Chicago, goal or not. He needs to be better, though. These cold streaks are going to hurt eventually.

Thoughts on that big win?