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Rangers Vs. Penguins: Kicking It Off The Right Way

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Notes from the Rangers Game 1 win against the Penguins.

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

- I refuse to call Game One a must win. I wasn't going to call it a must win if the Rangers lost so I'm certainly not going to turn around and deem it was a must win now that the Rangers have won, but it's an enormous victory. As the away team in a series the goal is always the same; just try to take one on the road and come back home tied up at one. As the home team you don't have such a luxury. Losing wouldn't have been a death sentence the same way winning isn't a promise the Rangers are going to sweep. But it was an enormous win and it let's the Rangers shake off the rust with the first win under their belts. All positives.

- And you couldn't ask for a better start. Seriously, it doesn't get any better than scoring 28 seconds into the game and instantly getting The Garden kicking (more on this a little later). And the Rangers did a good job pushing the Penguins in the first period. Pittsburgh's parade to the penalty box (the Rangers had four power plays in the first period) certainly helped the Rangers keep the ice tilted, but they earned a lot of the momentum too.

- The Derick Brassard goal was a set play, and he even admitted as much after the game was over. First of all, give all the credit in the world to Rick Nash for that perfectly placed low shot that created the rebound Brassard slammed home. That off the boards play needs to keep working since the Rangers are so much faster than the Penguins. And the best part is even if the Penguins shut that down they're leaving the middle open. It's tough to stop.

- The power play went 1-for-5 on the game. Typically you'd cut your own hand and sign your name in blood to get a consistent 20% power play in the playoffs out of the Rangers, but last night it was underwhelming. Yes, the power play scored the game-winning goal, but with an opportunity to blow the game open the Rangers didn't convert and it kept the game closer than it should have been.

- Henrik Lundqvist? Beast. Ryan McDonagh (power play goal) and Keith Yandle (power play assist) were beasts as well. The Rangers defense as a whole, actually, didn't look that bad. And aside from the few moments when Alain Vigneault (with the last change) elected to put Tanner Glass on the ice against Evgeni Malkin, the fourth line didn't completely get destroyed. Probably because Jesper Fast and Dominic Moore played so well. I should note I don't think Glass had a particularly terrible game but that matchup is asking for trouble.

- I loved what I saw from J.T. Miller and Kevin Hayes. They both looked a little jumpy, but even so they played impact games. Hayes continues his string of "oh my God did he really just pull that off" plays and Miller played a really good all around game to boot. They both had chances. They will only get better. Same goes for Fast, although I thought in terms of mentality he was the most solid of the three.

- Here's to hoping Dan Girardi is OK after playing a pretty solid game. Who knew machines had teeth?

- The Garden was rocking last night. Yandle even said he didn't expect it to be as electric as it was. It's different in New York, plain and simple. And the light bracelet show? I thought they were pretty cool.

Thoughts?

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