The Rangers had to have this one tonight. No ifs, ands or buts about it. They HAD to have it. Why? It’s simple, they were playing against an inferior team without most of their “name” players. No Antropov, no Enstrom….ok, well, maybe just those 2, but for a hapless team to begin with, those 2 are enough. The Jets had all sorts of injuries to their defense, and already are having issues scoring goals as it is. They were ripe for the picking, and to be honest, the score wasn’t really indicative of the play. Sure, the Rangers didn’t play their best game, but they probably should have had at least 2 more goals if not for some outstanding goaltending by Pavelec who flat our robbed Christensen of a goal, and had several other beauties to go with it.
Marty Biron probably had one of the easiest shutouts he’s ever had. Outside of the goalmouth scramble where every player possible outside of Pavelec himself was in the Rangers crease, Biron really wasn’t tested all that much. The Rangers, again, played outstanding defense, and this is why I don’t buy into the hype that the Rangers need to make a huge move to replace Marc Staal if he is out for a significant time (ie, half the season or more). The Rangers top 4 can match up with anyone, and their bottom 2 are adequate and probably won’t cost the team much in terms of defensive play. Sure, having Staal helps you balance out the minutes, but you can deal with it, these are kids, they are young, they aren’t old and decrepit like my 31 year old body. With that said, you know Girardi needs to see a lighter workload. While I dont have an issue with Torts playing Girardi, Sauer, MCD, and MDZ about 25 mins a piece (leaving about 10-12 mins for the 3rd pair) Dan Girardi should not be playing 30+ minutes a night. It just can’t keep happening. There’s playing a good amount of time, and playing too much time. After a certain point, you start risking the players health.
I really like the top 3 lines the way Torts has them currently configured, but I don’t care for the 4th line at all to be honest. I just think it needs a bit…more. If Mike Rupp is going to be out long term, I think the Rangers should consider bringing up Hagelin to replace Deveaux. Obviously I don’t subscribe to the goon mentality. I’d rather have a kid play 8 minutes a night in Hagelin who you could also utilize on the penalty kill to give higher leverage minutes to guys like Cally and Dubi.
Just my 2 cents anyway. Don’t look now, but the Rangers are 5th in the East, and if they win their games in hand, could be first. Nice!