The Rangers were good tonight. Real good. In fact I’d have to say this was their best game in all facets all season long. Henrik Lundqvist was outstanding. The offense got tons of high quality chances only to be thwarted by an excellent performance by Bobrovsky. The defense was outstanding, limiting the nuclear hot Claude Giroux to very few chances at all (only 1 really comes to mind, a great glove save by Henrik).
Of course, you do have to put a slight asterisk on this game, as the Flyers were without Jaromir Jagr, Chris Pronger, and JVR, where JVR and Jagr have the same offensive equivalent as Gaborik and Richards, and Pronger has better numbers than any of our defenseman in a fraction of the games. We don’t have Staal, Wolski or Rupp, but I’d say they got the short end of that stick. You still have to play the team they ice, so it is what it is.
Regardless though, the Rangers played an outstanding game tonight, particularly in the defensive zone. While they did give up 29 shots, you’d have to say only 4 or 5 were good quality chances, especially Hartnells chance early in the game. Give Kudos to the Rangers top 4 defenseman. They were superb. MDZ in particular was very smart in what he did, you could tell a few times he wanted to do something risky, but instead changed his mind and went the safe route. While safe is death may be Tortorellas mantra in years past, it most definitely is not now. The Rangers really now play more of a, “Lazy is death” type of hockey. Where they know they can’t ever take even a shift off. They work hard, they get their work in, and they pick up points when and where they can. It’s a smart style, and as the Rangers get a little older (we still have one of the youngest teams in the NHL, something like the 2nd youngest group of skaters if im not mistaken). This was shown in spades tonight as the Rangers consistently outworked the Flyers, despite both teams having played just the day before. Kudos to the Rangers, those young legs sure to help.
I’m loving the duo of Mitchell and Hagelin. Both seem to play so well together. Mitchell is a very smart player, as you know, I value smarts over every other aspect a hockey player can have. So it’s great to see a guy who plays such a smart game out there. Hagelin just flat out works his butt off. Skates hard, never stops moving, reminds me so much of Ryan Callahan. Just great to see them, though I dont like Boyle in the middle of those 2. Right now I’d flip flop Brandon Dubinsky and Boyle to see if maybe that could help that line be even more effective.
Ok, thats all for now, I’m actually sick as a dog right now, hence the reason this is so late.