Rangers Vs. Lightning: Comeback Kids

Notes from the Rangers win over the Lightning.

- First of all, if you're one of those people who chirped all the analytical people (or people who aren't Dan Girardi's biggest fans) claiming everyone is happy he got hurt: You're an idiot. I hope he's OK. That's a scary hit and him staying down and needed to be attended by the team doctor isn't something you ever want to see. Especially for him; a guy who never stays down and is essentially a robot.

- Second of all, that Tanner Glass hit was dirty. I think the jury is still out about whether or not it was a pure headshot (I think he hits the shoulder and the head at the same time) but it's a predatory hit that was late and dirty. It was dirty. Period. Those are the type of hits you'd be livid about if it happened to any of the Rangers. I'm doubting Glass gets a suspension since Vladislav Namestnikov came back into the game, but he deserves one. And no, this has nothing to do with "Tanner Glass hate;" it's a dirty hit.

- Can someone explain Alain Vigneault's logic to me? He sits Kevin Hayes to get in Oscar Lindberg -- because God forbid Hayes keeps his upward momentum going for the playoffs -- and then plays Lindberg for just six minutes. With Glass sitting out most of the game due to his ejection and five-minute major. Don't give me the special teams nonsense. Lindberg can kill penalties and even so there was plenty of ice time to go around. Why sit Hayes -- who worked really well on the Eric Staal line -- to waste Lindberg? You think anyone asked? LOL.

- The logical thing to do would have been to sit Glass and have two youngsters get some reps before the playoffs. You think Glass really needs to play to keep his forward momentum? He ended up not playing anyway.

- More to the point: Dylan McIlrath finally gets into the game and plays 12 minutes. McIlrath was a +3 corsi (second best among defenseman) and played a really solid game. I have no idea why he isn't permitted to see the ice except for getting his counterpart's scraps. And in what's basically a meaningless game, Vigneault rode Kevin Klein to over 27 minutes of ice time. That doesn't make sense, either. But then again, not much from him these days does.

- At least Vigneault played Brady Skjei, who looked horrible in the first period and then found himself once the second period rolled around. Shocked that he needed 20 minutes to figure things out, considering how much of a dumpster fire this defense can be. Wait, no I'm not. Once Skjei did settle down he joined in the rush a bit more, used his stick well and showed pretty good gap control. I'm assuming he's going to be the Ryan McDonagh replacement since he saw a wealth more time than McIlrath and Vigneault loves his handiness pairings to match, but with Girardi potentially out as well Vigneault backed himself into a corner nicely here.

- That first period is exactly what should scare the hell out of you if you think this team is destined to go all the way. The Rangers came out flat, were out-shot 15-8, down 6-2 in scoring chances and 3-1 in high danger scoring chances. Henrik Lundqvist did as much as he could to keep the game within two, and eventually the Rangers offense picked up the defense and carried them home.

- The second and third periods, mind you, are exactly what should give you a glimmer of optimism about this team's playoff chances. This offense can keep the Rangers head above water, and sometimes they look like a really competent hockey team. Derek Stepan -- who has been a monster the second half of the year -- had two goals, including a howitzer from the right circle.

- Chris Kreider then scored the game winner off a spectacular pass from Marc Staal (more on him in a minute). I'm bringing back the #InevergaveuponKreider hashtag. All you who wanted him gone and thought he were useless can apologize to me directly.

- That was Staal's best game of the year. Led the team in possession for defenseman, played solid in his own end and set up the Kreider game winner. He also had a few dangerous shots on net and created some chances. It's been far and few between those games for him, but if the Rangers want any prayer he needs to continue that swing.

- That's pretty much the type of game the Rangers are going to have to play in the playoffs -- although again, that's the Lightning's second group with all their key injuries. Just an OK possession game, where the offense pots a few goals and Lundqvist takes care of the rest. The defense is going to be the defense, at this point it is what it is.

- The Rangers might want to think about sitting Hank the final games of the year and dressing their B group. I'd rather avoid Pittsburgh at all costs -- going into the playoffs on a "high note" be dammed.