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There were 6…maybe 7 games prior to tonight where I can honestly say that the Rangers deserved the 2 points they just won. Not that Henrik deserved, or that Zherdev deserved it or that Dubinsky deserved it, but that the Rangers as a team deserved the win. Tonight was another such occasion. In fact I might call tonight just about a picture perfect win. They played a superb defensive game, had quite a few chances against one of the better defensive teams in the league, and somehow managed to pull out a huge win during regulation. Probably the only negative to speak of is a continually inept power play, except technically speaking it did score a goal when Zherdev was hooked down and awarded a goal there at the end, so even that I really can’t harp on.

Instead let’s switch gears and speak of the positives. In this one you finally had the 3rd (or 2nd?) line of Nigel Dawes, Chris Drury and Ryan Callahan look like a threat out there to score for the first time since they were united. I have felt like this was the one line dragging this team down, but tonight they actually had a very good game, even not counting the 2 goals they scored. They forechecked hard, they caused turnovers, and they had numerous scoring chances. In fact if you really think about it, they probably were the best line out there tonight.

The defense was quite good, particularly the pairing of Rozsival and Staal who in my opinion were both absolutely fantastic, particularly Staal who was cool, calm, and collected (as usual) back on defense, but looked to make plays a little more rather than let the play come to him and adjust on the fly. He looked to try to hit people a few times out there, he looked to bring the puck up the ice, he looked to try to make a head man pass. He looked like more and more the stud #1 defenseman we expect him to become. It’s hard to believe just how young this kid really is. His partner, Rozsival, seemed to feed off of Staals aggressiveness and play a superb game himself, constantly getting into passing lanes, playing superb positional hockey, and looked very strong making passes out of his own zone.

Finally there is Henrik Lundqvist, who was quite good, except for the 1 goal he gave up which came directly off of a flubbed shot he should have had. The problem with this though is it’s not entirely unexpected. Henrik plays with an ULTRA stiff glove. If you watch him with it, you can see his literally can’t close the glove at all, when he makes the save, he sort of uses his wrist to bring the glove back, and freeze the momentum of the puck (if that makes sense). This is why Henrik has such a tough time with shots to his glove side, he elects to use it as a blocker more than a glove. It is also why he has such a hard time handling the puck behind the net, the inability to squeeze the glove causes him to not be able to control the stick when playing the puck. Getting back to the game though, Henrik was what every goalie seems to be against us. Good, but not needed to be remarkable. All he had to do was make the saves he should make, and stop maybe 1 or 2 hard ones, other than that, there was nothing really challenging there. Henrik got an easy win tonight, and that’s probably the only time this entire year we have been able to say that. Kudos to the team, they played a superb game, now they better bring it back again tomorrow night against a very underrated Kings team.

P.S. Santa, all I want for Christmas is Mats Sundin….and Marian Gaborik….and Ilya Kovalchuk…. :-D

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