- That's a big win for the (now) streaking Rangers. Four in a row, including three-straight over division rivals. It's good to see the Rangers get a little more comfortable with winning tight games, especially on the road where they've been pretty bad this year.
- However, that's not a good game from the Rangers by any means. Got out-shot 61-40, out-chanced 32-14 and out high-danger chanced 10-5. The difference? Henrik Lundqvist. So take the two points and run, but I wouldn't exactly be screaming from the rooftops that the Rangers are "back."
- To that end, a lot of anti-stats folks smirking from ear to ear that Sidney Crosby was held without any shots or points last night -- and using that as proof that Dan Girardi and Marc Staal (who were matched up against them early and often) shut him down. Here's the problem with that: they didn't stop anything. How many posts were hit last night by that top line? Three? Four? How many spectacular saves was Lundqvist forced to make? At least a few, right?
Girardi corsi +/- is -16— Martin R. Burns (@mburnshockey) February 11, 2016
Staal corsi +/- is -17
Yandle corsi +/- is +8
Find the shutdown defenseman/men.
Crosby vs Yandle: 28.57% possession— Adam Herman (@AdamZHerman) February 11, 2016
Kessel vs Yandle: 25.00% possession
Letang vs Yandle: 43.75% possession
Yandle is good defensively.
- Simply put, top-pairing defenseman don't get torched like that. Even against Crosby and company. And that Staal/Girardi was Alain Vigneault's top pairing (and he rarely deviated from it during the game) tells you all you need to know about that situation.
- I tweeted this last night but it's worth another comment here. Coaching is like an open book test, is the opposing coach is focusing his top line on Girardi and Staal, maybe you should try to get them away from him. The "their possession stats only suck because of who they're playing against", argument doesn't work, either, since Yandle seemed to be just fine against them.
- J.T. Miller led the Rangers with a +12 shot differential. Jesper Fast wasn't too far behind with with a +9. And while MIller didn't score, he was one of the Rangers most dominant forwards last night. Which was especially important since the fourth line/Girardi and Staal got shelled most of the evening. I liked Chris Kreider's game, too, for what it's worth.
- What a filthy snipe from Dominic Moore. I mean seriously. That was about as pretty as it gets. And give Derek Stepan a ton of credit for the little pass that sprung the 2-on-1 leading to the goal.
- Kevin Hayes looked more relieved to score that goal than I've ever seen him. And to be fair, his underlying numbers have been really good, so it's only a matter of time before he explodes. But that can't happen until you get one, and he got a big one last night. Credit Yandle for the secondary assist and Tanner Glass (of all people) for an outstanding rush to the net that created the Hayes chance. Not something I expected to write in the recap, but here we are.
- The power play -- even without Ryan McDonagh -- still saw Yandle relegated to the second pair and the leftover minutes the first pair didn't do much with. At this point I don't know what else to say here. Maybe I'll start coming up with some jokes.
- Still, Yandle played the second-most minutes of any defenseman last night (behind Kevin Klein -- who was great) so that's good at least.
- Carl Hagelin looks like he's just going to work in Pittsburgh, and that's a miserable reality.
- Warts aside, that's a nice win without Ryan McDonagh and Rick Nash. The hope is both will be able to come back soon enough, but it's important to win those games when you're missing some of your top players.