When the Rangers were reeling off 7 wins in a row, the debbie downers were constantly on the team about beating up on inferior teams. How the Rangers true test would be the 3 games we just played against the Caps, the Flyers, and the Penguins. Tough to do much better than the Rangers just did. 3 games, 3 wins, 0 points gained by the opposition. Just imagine if this club didn’t have that hellacious schedule to start off the season. I have zero doubts whatsoever that the Rangers would have at least 3 more points banked if they had started a normal schedule. With that said, the Rangers now find themselves only 3 points behind Pittsburgh for the best record in the entire NHL. Oh, and they have 4 games in hand.
Think that’s not huge? Home ice in the first round is enormous. Getting a weaker opponent is extremely important. You want to secure as high a seed as humanly possible simply because you always get the easier draw in every round. The later it goes the less thats important, but the key is getting to those late rounds. Let the other teams beat each other up while you get the easier schedule. I would LOVE to have Ottawa in a 7 game series to start the playoffs, instead of maybe Boston or Philly…wouldn’t you? Right now the Rangers have the best winning percentage in all of hockey. This is despite not having their #1 defenseman play a single minute of hockey thus far this season. Pretty damn impressive.
Getting back to this game, the Rangers really did play a damn good game. They gave up some scoring chances, but this was not the case of the Rangers goalie single handedly winning them this game. The Rangers played a pretty good game defensively, and if Marian Gaborik, Artem Anisimov or Derek Stepan could hit empty nets we would have won this one 7-3 instead of 4-3. Regardless, the boys in blue played a very good game tonight, and they should be proud.
Holy crap has Carl Hagelin and John Mitchell been a revelation or what? The speed, patience and all around game of these 2 are superb. You can’t underestimate how important the addition of these 2 guys have been to this team. Not only have they put up a point every game they have played thus far, but they have turned us from a 2 line team to a 3 line team, and that, my friends is what separates the fringe playoff teams, to the playoff lock teams. What separates the teams even further is having 4 good lines. I’m still not a fan of the Dubi, Prust and Avery trio. I think they leave a lot to be desired in terms of actually being able to score. All 3 are better setting people up than actually putting the puck home. I would revise our lines to be this:
Anisimov – Stepan – Gaborik
Fedotenko – Richards – Callahan
Hagelin – Dubinsky – Mitchell
Avery – Boyle – Prust
That’s my thought anyway.
How about #10 and John Tortorellas comments on him after the game. He made a point to say that Gabby outplayed Malkin, Crosby, Richards, everyone. He’s right though, without a doubt Gabby was the best player for either team. He scored a goal, picked up an assist, and really should have had 3 other points if his linemates could hit empty nets every once in a while….and if he could too.
That’s all for now, time to hit the sack!