Rangers Vs. Hurricanes: Is It Time To Stop Panicking Yet?
Notes from the Rangers win over the Hurricanes.
- How much better does this team look now that the the horrific West Coast swing is over? Not that this team doesn't have any flaws, but boy oh boy do they look so much better when everything is clicking. The offense is creative and exciting, while the defense has shored up significantly. And Saturday night? The offense finally caught a few bounces and scored a few. Backup to the backup or not, five goals is five goals.
- Derek Stepan, Mats Zuccarello and Chris Kreider. I mean, what more can you say about them? Zuccarello -- who had three assists in the win -- has six points since being benched in Philadelphia. Kreider has been the Rangers best forward since he was called up, and also had three assists in the game. Stepan has been bashed (a bit unreasonably if you ask me) because he couldn't find the back of the net. And while he did come into the game with no goals (he did have seven assists) he found the back of the net three times in this contest.
- Another note about that line. They've been really good for a few games now. There's a lot of offense there. Kreider and Zuccarello seem to have found some really nice chemistry with one another, and Stepan makes them both even better.
- Final note on that line, Kreider is such a difference maker for them. He's big, can wreak havoc and is just brimming with offensive ability. He nearly scored twice along with his three assists. He's been good in all three zones. He moves the puck well, goes to the front of the net and just makes things happen. What a player he's been for the Rangers. The first Stepan goal? He's fighting in front of the net and pokes it to Zuccarello. The second Stepan goal? Kreider caused a turnover with a furious forecheck and finds an open Zuccarello who flips the puck behind him perfectly. On the third goal Kreider moved the puck to the open ice and allowed Zuccarello and Stepan the space they needed to connect. What. A. Game. From. Kreider.
- I liked what I saw from John Moore, too. My goodness is he a weapon when teams are playing with four aside. His speed and agility makes him so dangerous with the open ice. He hit the post when the teams were playing four-on-four and just makes problems disappear on the back end.
- Henrik Lundqvist was in beast mode, again. He could have easily had his second straight shutout, save for a seeing-eye goal scored towards the end of the second period. Just good to see. The Rangers need him. And with Cam Talbot on the back end, the Rangers seem to be pretty set in the net.
- Defensively the team has been so much better. They're taking care of the puck more, moving the puck better when they're in their own end and putting out fires when they pop up. A lot better than a few weeks ago, no?
- And Carl Hagelin. My word, Carl Hagelin. His speed makes the team so much more dangerous. He showcased his hockey sense and skill with his two goals, too. A lot of people told me the Rangers' injuries weren't an excuse for the team's 3-6 start. Well, one player of the three returned and look at how much of a difference he made. Can't wait to see what happens when the other two come back.
- Despite the huge win, the Rangers did have their share of problems. In the early stages of the game they needed Hank to bail them out far too often. And until Stepan's first goal of the third period, the team was on its heels for most of the time. Those things need to change against better teams, but for Saturday it was more than enough.