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Much like yesterday where I mentioned it wasn’t worth getting too down for the loss to the Pens, I am going to mention that it’s not worth getting to up for the win against the Sens. If you don’t want to take my word for it, listen to the first few minutes of Torts’ interview here. The Rangers didn’t have all that great of a game in the neutral and defensive zones. They were sloppy on their pinches, their rotation was once again poor, and their gaps in the neutral zone were all over the damn place. But, they put the puck in the net, and did so 5 times in regulation play….a feat last years team was only able to accomplish 6 times during the entire season! And the first didn’t happen till game number 16! That is something to be ecstatic about, trust me.

Another thing to be ecstatic about was the play of the top line, more so the play of Vinny Prospal, who for the first time since that line was really put together, looked to be in lock step with the other 2 players on his line. If he can keep playing like that, then that line could be something very special. Of course one could argue you could put Charlie Conway and Adam Banks out there with Marian Gaborik, and it would be a dangerous line. Still though, you can’t help get flashes of Straka – Nylander – Jagr when seeing the trio out there tonight. Perhaps they werent as dominating as the Jagr line was during the first year out of the lockout, but there were some flashes, which, really, is all you can ask for at this point. The second line of Drury centering Higgins and Callahan also continued their strong play, and although none of the 3 got on the board, Callahan was instrumental in Del Zottos goal by screening Leclaire, and Drury played a solid 2-way game. The sore spot still has to be the play of the 3rd line of Kotalik, Anisimov, and Lisin. The three just seem to have no chemistry out there whatsoever. This may be due to the fact that Kotalik is just a black hole aside from his shot, or it may be their styles just don’t mesh as they seem to be a hodge podge of playing styles, but whatever it is, those 3 are really bringing down the momentum when there turn comes up. Sean Avery can’t get healthy quick enough…getting him back will probably force someone out of that line.

The defense again continued to struggle. Often times they would pinch or join the rush too quickly, leading to odd man rushes against…and boy oh boy were there ever plenty of odd man rushes against. Henrik Lundqvist may not have been the only story in tonights win, but he was certainly the biggest reason why we are talking about, in essence, a laugher. Right now there only seems to be 1 defenseman on the entire roster that grasps the idea of when to pinch, and when to hold back. Oddly enough his name is Wade Redden. Aside from Redden, the rest of the defense is spotty at best with their decision making on when to join the rush and when not to. Gilroy was significantly better than he was in the first game, but he still had a few misreads that led to rushes. While none of the defenseman had bad games (thank God, if I had to point out Rozsival one more time…), aside from Redden none of them had particularly strong games either. Even Del Zotto who scored his goal was a little shaky here and there. But then again, when 4 of your 6 defenseman are 25 or younger, these are the pains you have to deal with, and show patience. I am extremely happy that Torts is going back to his kids even when they screw up. Though he did seem to be a little stingy with their ice time in the 3rd, probably because of wanting to protect the lead more than sit a player who was messing up.

Overall there were a lot of positives, but this team is far from a finished product. We need to be patient here. The first 10-20 games are going to be interesting to watch as this team starts to develop it’s identity.

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