It was awesome to see Ryan McDonagh score that goal with less then a second showing on the clock in overtime to give the Rangers a much needed win. It was awesome to see not because Ryan McDonagh followed up 1 superb outing with another, but rather because Ryan McDonagh really needed to redeem himself after just a terrible performance tonight against the Flames. I think tonight was a case of McDonaghs head getting a little too big a little too quickly. He’s had a spectacular season thus far, admirably replacing an all-star beast of a defenseman in Marc Staal. But let’s not forget, he’s still just a kid with less than 45 games of NHL experience. It’s easy for us as fans, and even him as the player, to think he’s a 10 year vet. Instead the kid showed some chinks in the armor, and the Flames exposed it with ease.
First and foremost McDonagh was holding on to the puck far too long tonight. Instead of just getting rid of pucks, he was trying to make moves, and the forecheckers got right on him in a hurry to cause turnover after turnover after turnover. Poor Dan Girardi really had to play the game of his life to keep compensating for the kids screwups, and while McDonagh will get the credit for the game winning goal, it was really about Girardi using the lively boards to our advantage that won it for us.
Slowly but surely, somehow, Dan Girardi has turned from being Marc Staals defense partner, to a legitimate top pairing defenseman that can carry a top pair himself. He’s having an all-star caliber season thus far playing about half of every Rangers game so far this season. I’m not sure if he can hold up playing these kinds of minutes for the whole season, because Girardi plays a tough game, blocking lots of shots, taking and giving hits, and going into the corners at every opportunity. The Rangers really need Michael Sauer and Marc Staal to get back quickly, if for no other reason, than to lighten the load placed on Girardis shoulders. Remember, this isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon, and while each and every point is important, we can’t forget that what happens today will effect the team come February…March…April…May, and hopefully June.
The Pack Line, while out there for the game winning goal in 4 on 4 form, wasn’t very good…again. What was expected to be a 1B line has turned into a 3rd line that kills penalties and provides a little bit of energy. Anisimov, Callahan, and Dubinsky are far too talented, and far too hungry for this to continue. The other top lines are all playing great, once these guys get going, the Rangers season should really start to take off. Time to wake up you guys.
How about Gabby aye? Over on many of the message boards people were willing to drop Gaborik for a kit-kat bar and a couple of quarters for the slot machines. It’s stupid and short sighted thinking that many a spoiled New York fan (thanks to the Yankees really) have succumbed to. The fact of the matter is this. Marian Gaborik is far too skilled. Has way too good of a shot. Is just too damn fast, for a season like last season to replicate itself. I personally felt that Gabbys shoulder never healed throughout the season. The velocity was just not on his shot like it has been this year. Without that shot, Gabby becomes easier to defend. They need Gabby to be Gabby, and with or without Richards, he has been just that. Now go get this guy some secondary scoring!