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Rangers Vs. Bruins: Keith Yandle Is No Mortal Man

Notes from the Rangers win over the Bruins.

Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

- I don't know where else to start so let's just get these out of the way: Keith Yandle is a God among men. A. God. Among. Men. I'm adding as many periods as I can that's still somewhat proper (Beth hits me for every mistake, you know) to end this "debate" once and for all. Yandle has probably been the best Ranger this year not named Henrik Lundqvist. Longer story alert: One is coming on Yandle and why you should appreciate him.

- After Yandle released one of the most ridiculous passes I've seen in a long time on the Mats Zuccarello goal to open the scoring I thought to myself, how do people not appreciate Yandle? Then while watching Yandle rip through the Bruins' defense like a hot knife through even hotter but not yet melted butter, avoid the pressure, move Tuukka Rask to anticipate the shot and then make a perfect pass to Derek Stepan I screamed it from the mountain tops. Proof:

- There are so many Yandle detractors who talk about how he's not going to be worth the contract the Rangers will have to give him, who will then (in the same breath) defend Dan Girardi and his contract to the death. If you honestly don't think Yandle is a vital piece of the puzzle and should be kept at all costs I don't know what to tell you. Those people (crab people) are more than happy to remember every mistake he makes -- if you have the puck a lot more you'll lose it more than players who don't have it at all -- and forget games like that. That's all you need to know about them.

- Anyway, that's one of those rare games where I don't think the advanced stats color in the game accurately. The Rangers got annihilated 62-25 in shot attempts, but it's one of the moments I really will allow the "it was mostly to the outside" UNTIL the third period where the Rangers did their usual shell and allowed Boston to pretty much do whatever it wanted to.

- That being said, the Rangers power play bailed them out early and often. That's a fantastic change from where the power play has been 90% of the year, but it's still worth noting. At least Yandle actually got real power play time (5:33 on the night).

- Stepan (goal and two assists) continues to have a very underrated season. He became the second Rangers player in franchise history to record 40+ points in his first 6 seasons. He's been so important to this team's internal makeup for so long I really do think he gets taken for granted. Sadly we did not talk about Stepan on the POSITIVE PODCAST but we should have (audio is fixed by the way). We are fools.

- Give J.T. Miller a ton of credit, too. Now that he's actually being allowed to spread his wings he's becoming a special player. He scored his 20th goal of the year (a career high, obviously, but his first 20-goal marker) and entered the 20-20 club (20 goals and 20 assists) for the first time.

- I want a Zuccarello gnome. I have done so much for you people, do this for me.

- I'm glad Kevin Hayes played last night, because between him and Oscar Lindberg his development is more important. Lindberg is going to get a game eventually and we all know it's not coming at the expense of Tanner Glass, so get used to that now.

- Few notes on the "controversial plays" the Bruins aren't happy about:

1) Matt Beleskey has no problem hitting Stepan late and breaking some ribs on a dirty hit, but when Glass puts him into the bench (cleanly) he has enough to a problem to drop the gloves. Alllrighty then.

2) The puck never hit the netting on the first goal. If it did, somehow the netting didn't move at all. So, right call. Also, the officials never even thought about stopping the play. They immediately waved off the notion of the puck hitting the net and the Bruins never stopped playing. So Claude Julien was mad because his team got scored on and threw a temper tantrum.

3) Not only was Brad Marchand offside on the Bruins goal that was taken back, but so was Patrice Bergeron -- by a much bigger margin. As if that wasn't enough, had Alain Vigneault elected to challenge for goalie interference he would have won that too. Marchand was nice enough to slash Lundqvist's stick out of his hand before Lee Stempniak scored.

4) The Miller hit on Zdeno Chara was also 100% clean, and it also made Chara mad enough to stoop down to get in Miller's grill.

5) The third Stempniak goal -- the one where Lundqvist got it with the glove at the line -- I can see the frustration. That puck probably is in, but it was correctly ruled not a goal because you can't see it go in. At least that's the rule so long as you're not playing Washington.

- Stempniak sure does love giving the Rangers the middle finger doesn't he? Too bad he's a bad hockey player and the Rangers could never find a use for him. Also this:

- The Rangers padded their lead a little on the playoff race. They are not up four points on Pittsburgh (with the Penguins having two games in hand) for the second spot in the division. They've also cleared themselves five points from the Islanders in the first Wild Card spot (Islanders have two games in hand). So, better.