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Rangers-Maple Leaves in review

Posted By Carp On January 27, 2013 @ 1:41 am In Hockey,Lockout,New York Rangers,NHL | 298 Comments

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Thoughts:

1) It is beyond stupid to think this team was going to stink  it up all season. I don’t think they are where they need to be, and they still need to get more from the guys who play on the second line, or who are supposed to play on the second line. They will be better defensively. Their goalie will eventually steal some games. Their record, when all is said and done, might look nothing like last season’s record. But in a 48-game season, you just need to be in the top eight. They will be, handily.

2) You know what struck me as funny? When a team struggles defensively, you hear about how the forwards aren’t coming back to help the defensemen. But when it struggles offensively, you don’t usually hear about the D-men not helping the forwards up ice. And the Rangers’ struggling offense really has had very little help from the D so far, until that tying goal. And honestly, the Rangers’ top three D-men haven’t been great in their own end, either, until the last two periods last night.

3) Rick Nash=Beast. [2]

4) Marc Staal had a brain-cramp, or just was guilty of bad awareness, on the second Leaves goal. But from that point on, the guy was a monster. Easily his best game of the season.

5) You could say the same for a number of guys, including Brad Richards, Brian Boyle (7 hits, 12-8 on draws), even Ryan Callahan (after the early dumb penalty) and Carl Hagelin.

6) This was adversity, even though it was just the Leaves. Because the Rangers had their best start of the season and were down 2-0 because of lousy goals allowed by, first, the Dan Girardi-Ryan McDonagh pair, and then by Staal. Girardi looks like he’s too committed to blocking every shot and pass, and spending way too much time on the ice and not nearly enough on his skates. He was like that a couple of years ago. Last year, when he still blocked a ton of shots, he knew when to stay on his skates and he became an all-star. Just an observation.

[3]7) The power play, which took the collar again, still looked better with Richards off the point. Again, he played well, won someimportant draws (though lost 14 of 26), etc. But he hasn’t looked good on that point.

8) Boy,  it seemed last year when guys fought (Brandon Prust) the Rangers responded positively. This year, it seems, the opponent has responded and the Rangers have not after every fight. So how about this? Cut it out. Fighting for fighting’s sake. Idiotic. Plus, if you’re scoring at home, the Rangers haven’t won many.

9) I didn’t mind Benn Ferriero at all. I don’t  know where he plays, or if he plays, when Jason Arnott arrives and Chris Kreider heals. But the kid looked fine.

10) They say you kill good penalties and never kill the bad ones, and that too-many-men penalty was a really bad one.

11) If you want to hang your hat on something, check out how many of the NHL’s better teams are struggling.

12) The Rangers still lost some battles they would have won last season.

13) Wait, did I not even mention Marian Gaborik yet? How good has he been? Where are those people who had his name and “compliance buyout” in the same sentence before the season started?

14) Michael Del Zotto—on ice for all four Rangers goals until the empty-netter. [4]

15) Wait, did I also not mention the goalkeeper? Henrik Lundqvist didn’t have to steal this one, but he was pretty solid, too.

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My Three Rangers Stars:
1. Marc Staal.
2. Marian Gaborik.
3. Rick Nash.
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John Milewski’s Rangers Stars:
1. Marian Gaborik—flying all night.
2. Michael Del Zotto—finding ways to join the rush and (surprise) hitting the net with his shots!
3. Rick Nash—big boy was a big presence and created space for Gabby.
Honorable Mention: Marc Staal—big recovery after a slow start.
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Your poll vote for the Three Rangers Stars:
1. Marian Gaborik (28.14 %).
2. Rick Nash (19.01 %).
3. Marc Staal (17.87 %).
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Photos by Getty Images.


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[1] Image: http://rangers.lohudblogs.com/files/2013/01/Gaborik-goal-vs.-Leafs.jpg

[2] Image: http://rangers.lohudblogs.com/files/2013/01/Nash-vs.-Leafs.jpg

[3] Image: http://rangers.lohudblogs.com/files/2013/01/del-zotto-vs.-Leafs.jpg

[4] Image: http://rangers.lohudblogs.com/files/2013/01/Rupp-vs.-Orr.jpg