Very nice way to end a two-game losing streak and a very complete win over the Baby Buffaloes for No. 2,500 in franchise history, for No. 4 in a row on the road, No. 13 in the last 17 games overall.
Right back at it tonight against the Cats (7:30 starter).
1) The Rangers were really in control of the first 10 minutes of the game and I thought they did Jhonas Enroth a favor by repeatedly missing the net. Though Tomas Vanek sure returned the favor a couple of times later in the period.
2) In the first 15 minutes, I saw six or seven incidents of infractions that would have been called the first six weeks of the season, and weren’t called. And I’m sure OK with that, if the officials are really de-pansifying to a degree. I especially don’t mind if the guy with the puck has to fight through some minor hooks or holds or whacks. And it’s really also alright with me if they continue to tightly call the interference against guys without the puck, as they did on consecutive calls on Carl Hagelin and Vanek late in the period.
3) Benching Marian Gaborik after the giveaway on the Vanek goal is a bit rash, in my opinion. Gaborik knew he messed up. I don’t think he needs to be punished every time he makes a mistake. On the other hand, if the benching was for Gaborik’s half-hearted effort to get back into the play on the defensive side, then I have no problem with it.
4) Brandon Dubinsky looked like something clicked when he got the chance with Brad Richards and Ryan Callahan.
6) Hagelin had flattened out a bit in the two losses, I thought, but he’s not showing any signs of not belonging here. None at all. Is he here to stay? Erik who?
7) Michael Del Zotto had one Del Zaster, against Vanek in the first, and was up ice on the goal, but who doesn’t have an occasional disaster against that guy? Overall, he was magnificent in this game, and his passing and physical play have been excellent and getting better for a while.
8) It’s admirable that Dan (Block Ness Monster) Girardi decided to play the entire first three minutes of the third period because the Rangers had a long shift, an icing, a timeout, and then Vanek came onto the ice. But IMO it was kind of crazy. By the end of the elongated shift, he was dead on his feet, which left the Rangers vulnerable. Plus, they play again tonight. No need to wear him out more than normal … if you can even call his minutes normal.
9) In case you missed it … it wasn’t covered on HNL (nor was John Tortorella’s post-game presser) … Artem Anisimov said his shoulder/head were OK after that big collision with the glass late in the game. He expects to play tonight.
10) Judging by minutes lately, you might draw the conclusion that Sean Avery might not be sticking around, or at least might not always get a uniform, when Mike Rupp returns.
11) Another nice performance on the second D pair by Steve Eminger. And two assists.
12) And a really good bounce-back game by Ryan McMonster.
13) I don’t know what to say about Martin Biron, other than this is the kind of game you now expect from him. Very, very solid. And one assist.
My Three Rangers Stars:
1) Ryan Callahan.
2) Carl Hagelin.
3) Martin Biron.
Tabulating the contest. Hope to have it finalized by tonight’s game. We have another pair of tix to give away in the next week or so.
AP photos, above.