This wasn’t a well played game by the Rangers. Starting in goal, out to the D, and the forwards. They didn’t play a great game. It wasn’t terrible, by any means, but it wasn’t the same brand of hockey we saw the past 3 games. With that said, you can’t expect the team to play at their best night in and night out. It’s just not realistic. So it’s pretty damn awesome that the Rangers can still pull out a win when they aren’t at their best. Especially in a typical trap game.
The Rangers best player tonight, and most nights (not including Henrik Lundqvist) was Marian Gaborik. Gabby has been flying this season, as I always knew he would. Last year was a total fluke, and I am convinced it was related to the boarding incident early in the season. Gabby lost his shot, and with his shot gone from his game it made him a whole lot easier to defend. You just take away his speed game by backing off and forcing him outside. Now Gabby is shooting, he’s passing, he’s driving the net. In short, he’s back, and that can only mean good things coming for the Rangers. The Rangers are now ranked 4th in the conference with a 6 point lead on the outside looking in crew, with between 1 and 4 games in hand depending on which team you are more concerned about.
Martin Biron had a very up and down game. At times he made some good stops to hold the lead, especially some screen chances early in the 3rd, but he also gave up 2 semi-weak goals right off of faceoffs. Henrik doesn’t give up 3 tonight, Henrik gives up, at most, 1. That’s the difference between a backup and a starter I suppose. Still, the ability to win games with your backup goalie in the net is huge for a team that wants to secure home ice in the first round.
Next up for the Rangers are the Tampa Bay Lightning who do pose their own problem for us. Martin St. Louis seems to eat this team for lunch with this speed and passing game. I’m not sure why, well, the fact that he’s an incredible player has something to do with it I’m sure, but the Rangers just can’t seem to contain the speedster. The Rangers just need to play with the puck in the Tampa zone. That team is awful defensively and in net. The whole 1-3-1 uproar is a total crock because the trap just doesn’t work in this day and age. Look at Boston, even with their defensive system they are aggressive forecheckers. That is how you win. That is how all the teams that have won have done it. Go get the puck, keep the puck, put the puck in the other teams net.
That’s all for now, I’m exhausted.