Can we PLEASE play the Lightning every game? I can’t really recall such a pansy assed defensive effort by a team like what the Lightning did. You want to talk soft? That team is soft. Charmin soft. The only reason this wasn’t a 10-1 shellacking was because of how good Garon was, but again, you really have to look at this game with a grain of salt…that defense was just…laughably bad. Like, Stu Bickel would probably be a huge upgrade for them.
NEED MOAR JAM!@!
Anyway, with regards to the game itself, boy oh boy does Rick Nash make a huge difference or what? This guy is just a monster, and if he’d get some puck luck he’d probably be at 15ish goals right now. He has to work so damn hard for his goals, the flukey ones just won’t go for him. His ability to completely control the play, and have 5 guys on the other team completely focus on him and nobody else around him, makes him a deadly player.
If you want my opinion? The Rangers should go back to Richards centering Gaborik and Nash.
Why? I mean, I’m pretty clear that I HATE the idea of stacking 1 line. But it’s because, right now that’s not stacking 1 line. You’ve got 2 guys that have been playing mostly horrible hockey all season long outside of a handful of games each in Richards and Gaborik, and the only time they both were going was when Nash was put on a line with them. Put those 3 together, then put the 3 guys who are ACTUALLY carrying this team right now, Hagelin, Callahan, and Stepan together to form your “real” first line based on play rather than names. Then you’d pretty much have 2 #1 lines out there. Put JT Miller with Boyle and Pyatt as a checking line, and whatever else is left for your 4th energy line.
It’s not a permanent solution, because I firmly believe a team is at its best when it has balance, but it’s really done with 1 thing in mind. Get Richards and Gaborik going. Those 2 single handedly carried the Rangers through a 1-2 month stretch last season when they were just on FIRE with Hagelin on the other wing. Right now, they are both anchors, despite Richards much improved play tonight. Get them going. This goes far beyond this 1 game. Richards and Gaborik will be the difference between the Rangers going out in the first or second round, and me driving up to New York for a parade (anyone got a place where I can crash?)
Michael Del Zotto was missed a lot more than people want to admit. Seriously, you guys won’t know what we had till he’s gone. He makes a lot of really good, really subtle plays out there to go with his really good plays. He’s still a kid, playing the hardest position in hockey. Not everyone is a Ryan McDonagh.