Make no mistakes about it, the Rangers just played their best game of the season till this point. They weren’t perfect, oh no, not by a long shot, but they were at times completely dominant, and if not for some really remarkable goaltending by Holtby who seems to love playing against the Rangers, this would have been a 5-1 or 6-1 blowout.
Sure, the scoresheet looks like the same old Rangers. 2-1 win, can’t put pucks home, blah blah blah. But you know what? That’s B.S. The Rangers have the guns to put pucks into the net. This isnt Aaron Voros shooting the puck, it’s Marian Gaborik, Rick Nash, Brad Richards, Ryan Callahan, etc. The Rangers have the guns, they have established goal scorers, and they were put into high quality scoring areas with the pucks on their sticks, and they couldn’t finish. It happens. But, more importantly they came away with a win.
You’d obviously hate to lose any game, but a game like tonight would have hurt to lose, because, let’s face it, the Rangers for much of this game were the better team. Only on the penalty kill did they look at all like they were in trouble. Henrik Lundqvist was outstanding when down a man, facing a barrage of high quality scoring chances and still keeping the high octane (of late) Caps to only 1 goal. Ribiero in particular was ripping our D to shreds with some crazy good passes into the slot. How many times did a Caps forward find himself all alone in the slot with the puck on his stick only to shoot it wide, have it blocked at the last second, or have Henrik come up big.
You’re not going to keep a good team down, and despite their record, I believe the Caps are a good team, but, the Rangers are a damn good team too, and if they could ever get their damn power play fixed, it could be a lethal team.
How lethal? The Rangers have a top 10 offense when playing at even strength, if they had even an average power play they would be a top 10 offensive team in the league. A good power play puts them into the top 5. Not bad considering the hellacious schedule they’ve had, having to play the Bruins 3 times already, the Pens twice (not great defensively, but they control the puck so damn much Rangers never get to touch it), and the Devils who are an elite defensive team.
Get the Power Play fixed (and a beauty of a PP goal was scored tonight…but they need a whole hell of a lot more than that) and it solves so many problems it’s not even funny.