Great game by the boys in blue tonight, very well executed defensive game, completely smothering the neutral zone (rather than the defensive zone a-la Torts) and maintaining huge periods of time with high pressure.
One thing that’s a joy to see are the Rangers outlets in their own zone. The guys have gotten VERY good at transitioning the puck from defense to offense. There’s a lot less panic flings up the boards and a lot more under control passes to open men to start the transition game going back. It’s awesome to see.
Of note tonight were the play of Ryan McDonagh, Brad Richards, and MZA. All 3 were outstanding, particularly MCD who was just a monster out there. His ability to turn the team from defense to offense this season has been mind blowing, and in particular tonight, he was just incredible to watch.
As someone who plays defense regularly myself, you just can’t help but be in awe at how well the kid plays under pressure. Some of the outlet passes he made were just tiny little nothing passes, but they consistently trapped guys behind the play leading to scoring chances.
Oh, and he scored a goal.
Brad Richards was incredible as well, setting up a few fantastic scoring chances and, for once, showing some very strong board play.
Our top 2 lines were pretty much unstoppable.
Our 3rd line though…oof, they are kinda tough to watch. Brassard has some skill, but he definitely looks lost out there for most of the game. He makes some good plays here and there, but by and large I’ve not been happy with his play. Pouliot…blech. And Carl Hagelin has kinda fallen off the map with his play. He just doesn’t seem to have that “this is my puck, youre not getting it away from me” mentality he’s had in the past. Probably just a rut, but could be a function of the line he’s playing on.
Hard to see anything wrong with the 4th line. Boyle, Moore and Dorsett do a great job at keeping pucks in the offensive zone and play pretty well defensively, albeit not amazing.
Great game, loved what I saw, keep this shit going boys!