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Rangers-Devils in review
Posted By On March 20, 2013 @ 5:35 am In Hockey,New York Rangers,NHL,Rangers Report | 330 Comments
1) This wasn’t perfect (few are) but it was miles better than what we’ve seen in the previous nine days, and better than most games this season, actually. The Rangers created some offense, had the puck more, protected a lead (they haven’t had a lot of practice at that) pretty well, and of course, the guy who has to be their best player was their best player.
2) Speaking of which, the decision to play Henrik Lundqvist back-to-back was a good one. He needs to get back to where he should be, and he is getting there, and now it’s time to ride him for a while. There are 19 games left. He could play all of them, or almost all of them.
3) And he sure was superb in that second period, particularly on that sequence just before the Rick Nash 3-2 goal. What I also like about Lundqvist is his accountability. He made sure to point out how motivated he was after his poor play puck-handling led to Steve Eminger taking a penalty. The guy gets it.
4) Speaking of sequences, how about that one leading up to the Michael Del Zotto goal? Lundqvist loses his stick while handling the puck, then Johan Hedberg comes out and does his Ron Hextall/Patrick Roy stroll up the ice. Derek Stepan steals it, loses it, steals it back and flips a shot off Ilya Kovalchuk and into the air, where Del Zotto bats it home.
6) MSG’s ice is notorious. But the ice at the Rock might be worse. I mean, did you see that crater? Lucky we didn’t lose a linesman.
7) Patrik Elias can play on my team any day. And Kovalchuk=Monster. Well, most of the time
8) How about that gift penalty when Dan Girardi elbowed Lundqvist? Too bad the power play reverted to the three-above-the-circles approach.
9) The Rangers D again let opposition forwards behind them … even on the play that led to the faceoff that led to the goal, Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi were both fronting two Devils between them and the net.
10) Then the Rangers’ fourth line gives up 2-2 goal right after takng the lead. Matter of fact, for lots of this game, the Devils fourth line was much, much better again (visions of ECF).
11) Del Zotto had two really, really good games in a row. That pass on the Nash goal was something special. He also spent some time battling with Clarkson. Like it.
12) As good as Nash’s shot was on that 3-2 goal, and it was terrific, what I really liked was the edge to his game. I think he’s done that in quite a few of these divisional games. I thought that the Big Line was pretty strong again in the offensive zone, and pretty scary at times in the other end. I still say the Rangers go nowhere if those three guys — Nash, Richards and Marian Gaborik — don’t produce like first-line players.
13) Another strong game for the third line, too. Brian Boyle not only hitting people but hitting them hard, and not picking spots. And J.T. Miller, even though he made a mistake or two, was involved.
14) MSG Network is developing a terrible NBC/Versus-like habit of zooming into a closeup immediately after every whistle, no matter what might be happening on the ice.
15) Clever play by Dan Girardi on the wide shot off the backboard that Carl Hagelin banged in.
16) I won my bet with eric, who wagered the Rangers would never see the top eight again. So two MSG hot dogs for me (unless eric will come to Walter’s with me, in which case the next two are on me). It was like stealing, a bet like that. Maybe we’ll go double or nothing later on.
My Three Rangers Stars: 
1. Henrik Lundqvist.
2. Michael Del Zotto.
3. Derek Stepan.
RangerJHW’s Three Rangers Stars:
1. Henrik…sweet one!
2. Del Zotto…key goal
3. Girardi/McDonagh…they are one player..right?
Hon mention-too many to mention!!!
Your poll vote for Three Rangers Stars:
1. Henrik Lundqvist (29.45 %).
2. Michael Del Zotto (20.89 %).
3. Rick Nash (17.12 %).
Photos by Getty Images.
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