The Rangers have been a very methodical team. They play the grinding style of forecheck that we’ve all grown accustomed to. They wear teams out with physicality. They crash the net, they play smart positional hockey, and they rely on a spectacular goalie between the pipes. All of that adds up to a team that is in first place in the conference, and has them with the best winning percentage in the NHL.
What’s remarkable though is the teams ability to not deviate from the plan all that much. Not just from game to game. But from period to period. Sure, every once in a while theres a period where the Rangers play like crap, for example, the 2nd period against the Flyers yesterday. But by and large they just keep on churning out wins.
But, I still firmly believe that this team’s achilles heel is going to be their Power Play, and their lack of scoring up front. They have the grit, but I think they need to go and get themselves another elite scorer. I’d be willing to open up the coffers to make it happen, if the right guy is available. I know this is more of the same from yesterday, but the more I watch this team, the more I am convinced they need to strengthen up front. Why do I believe so strongly in this? Because this might be the closest this team has come to being a team that could win it all since 1997. That’s a long….long…long time. There aren’t many of these chances in our lifetime. Sometimes you gotta go for it.
Getting back to this game. It is remarkable how well the Rangers were able to contain Ovechkin. He did puck up a point, but I still think he ended up being a minus player for the evening, and when you can take one of the best offensive players in the world and turn him into a minus, you’ve done your job. Rangers don’t have anyone as dynamic as him, but they have some guys who can shut his ass down.
Speaking of the D. Did anyone else have a mini heart attack when Ryan McDonagh crumpled to the ice? I know I did. This kid is so damn huge for this team it’s not even funny. A few days ago I did a diatribe over on the HFBoards about how I felt Ryan McDonagh was the single biggest reason the Rangers have turned from a borderline playoff team to the best team in the Eastern Conference. I stand by that judgement. This kid has been nothing short of spectacular this season.
OK, sleepy, off to bed!