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Rangers Vs. Devils: Domination To A Scary Finish

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Notes from the Rangers win over the Devils.

Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

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- That game was sort of like a backwards roller coaster. The New York Rangers probably had one of the best first periods they've had all year (out-shooting the Devils 28-15 at even strength), had a good second period and a pretty good third period. And despite the Rangers allowing the Devils to claw back into the possession aspect of the game (Rangers still finished with a 55-44 edge in shot attempts) I never really felt like the Rangers released their grip on the game.

- Until, that is, Keith Yandle decided to throw a blind pass across the blue line in a final two-minute power play that had no chance of reaching Dan Girardi and turned into a 2-on-1 goal that allowed the Devils to get some blood to their feet and make the final minute and a half a scary event.

- Overall Yandle had a great game, too. He hasn't missed a beat since Alain Vigneault has been forced to play him more, and what a shock, the Rangers are much better when he's on the ice than when he's off it. He played over 25 minutes last night -- far and away the most on the team -- and thrived with the ice time. He also saw over eight minutes of power play time. This is how he should have been used since the Rangers got him last year. No Ryan McDonagh or otherwise. That still wont stop the media-driven narratives to come out about how bad he was last night.

- The Dylan McIlrath - Yandle pairing might have made a pretty solid case (small sample size alert, though) for the Rangers best pairing before McDonagh went down with an injury. As of right now it's the ace in Vigneault's pocket which he did pull out a bit last night. McIlrath still only played 14 minutes (lowest on the team) but in that time he was a pretty noticeable force on both sides of the puck.

- I'd really like to see McIlrath get some power play time, especially if Yandle is the other defenseman on the point. Yandle doesn't have the hardest shot, but he's one of the best passers on the team (this is an enormous compliment) so pairing him with McIlrath (who should be instructed to wreak havoc with bullets from the point) might work out pretty well. Vigneault has sort of tried this with Kevin Klein, but with a broken thumb that might not be as effective.

- By the way, only working with one fully functioning thumb didn't stop Klein from scoring his fourth goal of the year and having a relatively solid game overall. The Rangers need him to be good with McDonagh out, especially if Vigneault needs to lean on others.

- J.T. Miller has been the Rangers best forward by a mile these past few weeks. Even the games where he doesn't score he's one of the best forwards on the ice. Last night he scored a goal (his 17th on the year) and played over 20 minutes of ice time to lead all forwards. That's a pretty big vote of confidence for a guy who couldn't get off the bottom six at times this year no matter what. Maybe it pays to play youth consistently?

- I thought that was a great game from Chris Kreider, too. Actually, I've liked Kreider's game for a few weeks now. Like I've talked about previously, his underlying numbers have been really good. It's only a matter of time before he turns that into production (you hope, luck can be a fickle companion).

- Derick Brassard, Jesper Fast (who has been good for a while), Mats Zuccarello and Kevin Hayes (outside of that misconduct) all had good games. The Rangers didn't have too many passengers in terms of forwards not making things happen themselves.

- Henrik Lundqvist was great when he needed to be, and really bailed the Rangers out at the end of the game. Chalk up another "Lundqvist does everything but no one notices because they take him for granted" win for him.

- That fourth line is not a vote of confidence, nor should Vigneault treat it as such. I will say that was one of Daniel Paille's better games, but still, not something anyone in the farm couldn't replicate. I'm wondering who sits when Rick Nash comes back. Here's to hoping it's the right call (Tanner Glass or Paille).

- That's a big win for the Rangers, and three in as many games! Thoughts?