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Rangers Vs. Penguins: This Series Is Bad For My Heart

Thoughts on the Rangers win against the Penguins in Game 3.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

- May as well start with the magnitude of the win itself. Winning Game 3 eases the pressure off the Rangers for Game 4 since at the very worst you go back to MSG for Game 5. I tweeted it before the game, but it sure did feel like a must win Monday night, even if it wasn't. And winning the game, no matter how ugly it might have been late, gives the Rangers home ice advantage again in the series.

- That's not to say it is going to be easy. I think the Penguins proved last night just how tough it can be. Look, I'm all for sitting on a lead so long as it's done right. The first 10 minutes of the third? That's the right way to do it. Send two guys in, make sure the center (or a defensive winger) is circling back and no pinching from the blue line. Clog up the middle and keep everything to the outside when they do break out of the zone. The Rangers did that (in the first 10 minutes of the third) really well.

- But here's the problem. As banged up as the Penguins' bottom six and defense might be, Pittsburgh has a really dangerous top six and two of the most dangerous players in the NHL. And while a two-goal lead is nice, it's still a single shot away from becoming a ball game again and that's exactly what happened.

- Still, a win is a win. And for the first 50 minutes the Rangers really were the better team by a pretty wide margin. The Penguins didn't get a shot through the first 15 minutes of the first, the Rangers worked the puck in deep and hemmed the Penguins in their own zone often. And if that puck doesn't bounce over Dan Girardi's stick or if Derek Stepan gets wood on that floating puck it's a 3-0 game going into the third and the Penguins probably don't do much of anything.

- Henrik Lundqvist? Beast. Just a beast. That save he made on the re-direction with less than a minute left? Stupid. And trust me, the Rangers needed a calming force in the crease during the final six minutes as they slowly descended into panic mode.

- Want to know why everyone was panicking when Keith Yandle didn't skate? That pass to Carl Hagelin on his goal. That's why. What a pass. And that it came on the heels of him perfectly handing Sidney Crosby in the offensive zone? Awesome.

- Speaking of defenseman, Girardi and Ryan McDonagh were monsters. I haven't noticed Matt Hunwick at all in this series (this is a big compliment) and only Dan Boyle seems to be out of place. Really out of place. Like, we should stop talking about it now to protect my sanity. Kevin Klein coming back might actually make things interesting. Does Boyle sit?

- Tanner Glass? Best game as a Ranger last night. That entire fourth line, actually, played really well. So, uh, more of that please. Jesper Fast and Dominic Moore were solid all night. And Glass, like I said, wasn't a tire fire.

- Kevin Hayes sort of had a coming out party last night, no? I thought he was really good and did everything you wanted for him to do. J.T. Miller had a good game too. Not a lot of complaints there from the youngsters.

- And the first line? Rick Nash was awesome, Mats Zuccarello was even better and Derick Brassard had a good game too. The power play -- while it didn't score -- actually looked competent the entire game. That's a marked improvement from those back-to-back 1-for-7 lines.

14 to go.