When the Rangers played the Sens last time they had some very different looking lines. This time they matched up with the Sens with a red hot trio of Artem Anisimov, Derek Stepan, and Marian Gaborik leading the way. And did they ever lead the way. Gaborik with 2 goals, Stepan with a goal and 2 assists, Anisimov with 2 assists, and probably should have gotten credit for a 3rd since it was his great play that led to Gaboriks first goal. The line is forechecking like beasts (kind of the opposite of what we saw in Tampa tonight I suppose), creating turnovers, and capitalizing on those turnovers with consistency. The catalyst for the line seems to be Derek Stepan who is playing some truly phenomenal hockey right now. He seems to be on a one man mission to extricate the puck from the opposition, and deliver on the tape to a teammate for scoring chances after scoring chances after scoring chances. The Rangers may not have had many shots on goal, but they sure had quite a few quality chances, including Anisimov basically missing an empty net, and numerous outstanding saves by Anderson.
I did not, however, agree with Torts’ decision to keep flip flopping the wingers on the 2nd and 3rd lines. First swapping Fedotenko and Dubinsky, then swapping Prust and Cally. I think the 2nd line of Dubi with Richards and Cally actually played really well for most of the game. The Boyle line wasn’t bad either, though neither generated much in the way of quality chances, they certainly didn’t play poorly. The same can’t be said for Sean Avery’s line, which looked pretty abysmal out there. One has to wonder why that trio is not broken up and maybe a callup from Hartford, a hungry kid, can’t get a cup of coffee with the team over there instead. Paging Mr. Hagelin.
I think what has really flown under the radar this season is just how well Michael Del Zotto has played defensively. Seriously, when was the last time you can say he had a bad game? He’s had a few average games, but none that would have you shaking your head in disgust. He seems to have learned the importance of protecting your own end, and then jumping in when and if the opportunity presents itself. The kid is very smart out there. I love the way he plays, though I think he may want to look at switching to a more closed bladed stick, only reason I say that is because a lot of his passes seem to be in the air, or wobbly. I had the exact same problem, then I switched from a wide open blade to a closed blade and it helped a ton. Everything was flat and crisp. Granted, I think he knows what’s best for him more than I would, but it’s just a thought.
OK, this will likely be posted sometime tomorrow since my internet is down right now and it doesn’t seem to be coming up in time, and I do need to get to bed! Later all!