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Rangers Vs. Canucks: What An Effort

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Notes from the Rangers win over the Canucks.

Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

- That is, without a shadow of a doubt, the best game the Rangers have played all year. The Rangers saw a massive edge in possession (69-35), scoring chances (36-21) and high-danger scoring chances (17-9). That should have translated over to the eye test as well, where the Rangers literally had the puck for most of the contest. The Canucks didn't generate a third-period shot until after the halfway mark, and the Rangers swarmed them until they finally won the game. Great, great all around effort.

- Those are the games where I laugh at the people who live and die by the scoreboard. You can't sit and smile when the Rangers play like crap and win and then turn around and pout and whine when the Rangers play really well and lose. If the Rangers would have lost that game (and if not for a brilliant Keith Yandle pass they might have) people would have continued to yell and scream about how much the team sucks, how the top six is a disaster, how Rick Nash is an overpaid softy and a lot worse. Sometimes the game doesn't go your way. Playing great hockey and losing isn't sustainable, either. The same way playing crappy hockey and winning wasn't.

- But the Rangers did win, so of course everything is alright for another day. The defense is amazing (based off one game) and the ship isn't sinking. As much as an effort like that gives me some hope, I still think this team has too many holes to go very deep in the playoffs -- unless they get lucky or Henrik Lundqvist carries them there. That's a big drop off from 2014.

- Chris Kreider has come on hard since his goal against the Islanders. Five points (three goals) in his last four games. Kreider's underlying numbers this year have been better than I expected with his play, so maybe he is really starting to turn a corner. Either way he was a pretty big part of Tuesday night's win.

- And J.T. Miller needs a lot of love, too. I think Miller has been overlooked this year as one of the few kids who is actually growing at or near the expectations people had for him. Miller's OT goal tied him with his career high of 10 and he's one point away from last year's total of 23 (in 12 less games). That's with extended stints on the bottom pairing and very little power play time. The kid can be really good -- as Adam will tell you this afternoon.

- Also, give him a ton of credit for that overtime goal. Takes the shot, stays with the play and gets there first to bury a wraparound. Vigneault trusted him by putting him out there in OT and he rewarded him. Fantastic play.

- The past few games -- really since the Islanders game -- Vigneault has leaned on Yandle the way he should have been all year. He's getting top PP minutes, being double shifted when the Rangers need a goal late and is seeing more than just the bottom six as regular partners. He rewarded the Rangers with the game-tying primary assist and a wealth of chances created from his vision. Honestly, sometimes Yandle is too good for his own good if that makes sense. He'll find players who simply aren't expecting the puck and can't do anything with it. The Rangers top priority should be locking him down. Period.

- Dan Girardi was second on the team with a +17 shot differential. I believe I saw it was the highest differential of his career. He had a really good game, and since Alain Vigneault won't take him off the top pairing, the Rangers need him to be that good every night. Here's my issue: When you look at a game like that from Girardi and go "oh, wow, that's such a turnaround from where he's been all year" it brings up two things in my mind:

1) It's not sustainable.

2) If we've gotten to the point where people are dramatically praising a $5.5-million defenseman for having a solid game it should show you how toxic the situation is.

- Ryan McDonagh was a +21 and no Ranger was in negative territory. The lowest possession Ranger was Jayson Megna with a +1.

- That's a good game from the Rangers, it really is. Everyone contributed and they found a way to win. I hate using that phrase, though, since the Rangers played a really good game regardless of the outcome, but it is nice to walk away with the two points.

Thoughts?