1) I don’t need to tell you how good Henrik Lundqvist was in this game, or for that matter how good he’s been in all four games … or since he’s been here. I will say this, and again, it’s early in the year so you don’t want to draw too many conclusions, but Lundqvist’s glove hand looks as good as it’s ever been, and has looked that way starting in training camp and the preseason. So he gets the first victory “Hat” of the season. I think that’s Brad Richards’ idea. Should be fun to watch that — assuming they win some games.
2) So the Rangers go into Riotville against a goalie who you’d have to think was a little fragile after his Cup final performance last year and, given his woeful save percentage this year, maybe uneasy with the skeptical fans … and what do the Rangers do? Miss the net. And miss the net. And miss the net.
3) Maybe they caught Higginsitis.
5) Derek Stepan was again good — and physical — on No. 1 line. And another very strong game together for Richards and Marian Gaborik. Richards has done it in the circle and in both ends of the ice. Count me impressed.
6) Brandon Prust is one of those guys the coach trusts so much … he can’t take dumb penalties like that.
7) But I think when the coach wants to make an example, he has to make it out of a guy like Prust — a team guy, a guy who does so much for the team, and is so respected by the team. You can’t make an example out of Erik Christensen, for example.
8) If I’m an NHL coach, given the way that goalies play today, I’m imploring my guys to fire it high any time they’re along the goal line, especially when they’re on the off wing (left shot on the right side, and vice versa) and their feet are below the goal line. If it doesn’t go in, it will at the very least cause some havoc for the kneeling goalie.
9) The Rangers don’t want to dissect penalties — John Tortorella’s words — well, some penalties are worse than others. So we’ll dissect. Brandon Prust’s first penalty was dumb and maybe lazy, and his second wasn’t so hot, either. Brandon Dubinsky’s penalty was selfish and downright Avery-like. The holding call on Artem Anisimov might have been the worst call against the Rangers so far this season, where the Canucklehead went arm-in-arm with him like they were square-dancing (do-si-do’ing?) and Anisimov got the penalty.
11) I always like to see Manny Malhotra, such a great person and unfortunately the poster child of the dysfunctional Rangers of the late 1990s.
12) Thought the second and third pair D-men looked much better in this game. But that might have been partly due to the guy behind them.
13) The 1-3 Rangers are at .500.
14) No reports of riots in the streets of Vancouver last night. For a change.
My Three Rangers Stars:
1) Henrik Lundqvist.
2) Ryan McMonster.
3) Dan Girardi.
AP photos, above.