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I’ve seen this team win plenty of games this season, I’ve seen them lose their fair share of games this season. I’ve seen them blow leads, come from behind, and just about everything else in between. What I haven’t seen this season is a truly dominating performance, particularly against a team of any consequence. Tonight the Rangers were flat out dominating, and against the best team in the universe to boot. The Rangers looked quicker, stronger, faster, more engaged, just out and out better. And really if it were not for 2 early (and might I add questionable) penalties, and a very soft game winning goal, they would have come out of this with at least a point, if not more.

What makes me all the more happy to see though, is that Tom Renney, at least for 1 game, has gotten past my 2 biggest problems with him. First, hes kept the lines, which actually make sense, in tact for several games in a row now. I am very eager to see the Sjostrom Dubi Korpedo trio for a larger sample size, I think it has some really great possibilities. The lines all looked like they belonged, and all had some superb scoring chances and played well in their own zone. Renney also had the team playing a far more attack oriented game. Prior to this game, according to Joe Micheletti during tonights transmission, Tom Renney decided the key to beating the Sharks was to play an offensive attack style game. And whaddyaknow, it worked! Sure, we lost, but you know what, anyone who watched this game would clearly see the better team (tonight) did not get the W. My point though is that this kind of an attack style, where the defense pinches to keep the puck, where the forwards GO as soon as their is a turnover, where the defense skates hard and joins the rush…that kind of an attack is what this offense was built to do, and man oh man did they ever play that style well.

Folks, THIS is the Rangers team I envisioned prior to this season. One that plays well in its own zone (3 goals, none of which were a result of poor defense, but rather being down a man, or a bad goal given up by your goalie), and keeps the chances against to a minimum by dominating in the offensive zone. This is the Rangers team I thought we were buying this offseason. One in which the defense quickly gets the puck to the forwards, and where the forwards use speed, and a tenacious forecheck to get chances off the rush, and cause turnovers.

If this team can maintain this level of play for the remainder of the season and into the playoffs, there is no reason they can’t be in the Stanley Cup finals. Of course that is the problem though isn’t it? The Rangers playing like this, night in, night out, with an up tempo attack game. So this begs the question, does Tom Renney recognize that this style of play works against every team in the league, and not just the San Jose Sharks, or does he revert back to the trap happy game which leads to no offense, and lots of opposition control of the puck.

Time will tell, the next game against the Caps will be a great test to see how much they have learned, because that is a team you can counter all night long and murder them with rushes after their turnovers, but you need to be aggressive, and you need to make quick passes.

Let’s see what happens, but at least 2 of the last 3 games were played against elite teams, and the Rangers looked like the better team in both of them.


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