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Rangers Vs. Blue Jackets: Give Them A Check

Notes from the Rangers win over the Blue Jackets.

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

- Third time's the charm, eh? The Rangers didn't make it easy (not that they ever do) and they did have to hold on for dear life in some parts of the third period, but they walked away with the two points and a check next to their name in terms of the playoffs.

- It might have come at a quite dire cost, though. After Ryan McDonagh blocked Brandon Dubinsky's power play shot in the first he did return to action but never came out after the first intermission. The Rangers didn't have any update outside of him being further evaluated today, so we'll have an update somewhere along the way.

- There's also been chatter of a "strong chance" someone is called up. I have no idea how Dylan McIlrath wouldn't be the immediate fill in for McDonagh (unless someone is called up on an emergency basis) but it not being McIlrath doesn't make any sense -- which means that's probably exactly what will happen. Two McDonagh injury notes:

- McDonagh Injury Note 1: If McDonagh is out long term all it's going to do is fuel the people who think this team could have been good enough. Which means if the Rangers do lose there might be people who use that injury as a reason why this team wouldn't need a major overhaul. That's not good for the future outlook of things.

- McDonagh Injury Note 2: If McDonagh is out long term it's going to look really bad on Alain Vigneault for hanging McIlrath in the press box for 80% of the year without playing him. Because now Vigneault is going to need to lean on him to preform in the playoffs, and he's not prepared for a responsibility like that since he hasn't played in such a long time. Sure, they can use him the final four games of the year and try to whip him back into the swing of things but it's going to be really tough.

- I told you all Chris Kreider was getting going. The underlying numbers usually always match up with the stat sheet, and that's starting to happen here. I think it speaks volumes that for all his struggles/bad luck Kreider scored his 20th goal of the year last night.

- You can add Derek Stepan to the above comment, although I don't think many people really got on him the way they did with Kreider. Stepan had a goal and an assist last night, and now has 49 points on the year.

- He didn't score but add Rick Nash to that, too. He was a monster yesterday. Actually, he's been a monster since he returned, and has been scoring, too. The Rangers need all of him this year, especially if they just lost one of their top defenders.

- Kevin Hayes had another great game last night. Really selfish of him, if you ask me. How is Oscar Lindberg expected to get into the games if Hayes keeps playing well?

- Silver lining of a McDonagh injury (IF there's a McDonagh injury)? Maybe it will force Vigneault's hand on Keith Yandle again, Yandle will light it up because that's what he does, the Rangers will take note of him lighting it up and then they'll do everything they can to re-sign him.

- Speaking of the defense: The Rangers had a really tough time keeping the puck out of their own net against the Hurricanes and the Sabres. Last night they had a really tough time getting the puck out of their own zone. The Dan Girardi and Marc Staal pairing -- which had to be put together when McDonagh went down -- got hemmed in their own zone for a few stretches in the third that looked like the game was going to be tied. Speaking of:

- Watching the Rangers hold leads in the playoffs is going to be _________