Rangers helped by new depth on defense

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Hope to have an video up shortly, shot by Josh Thomson, 26.

Meanwhile, here’s my column from The Journal News and LoHud.com today, on the Rangers’ new depth on defense:

By Rick Carpiniello

GREENBURGH — There were some things obviously different about the Rangers in Game 3 of their series with the Washington Capitals.

Of course that starts with the scoresheet, where the Rangers scored four goals, getting them from multiple lines, after getting one goal in the first two games combined. And that translated into the special teams, a huge key in this series where the Rangers were being beaten. They allowed a power-play goal in each of the first two games, including the OT winner in Game 2, and scored none, including late third-period and early-OT chances to win the game.

But there was something else different in Game 3, and it was on defense. Alternate captain Marc Staal returned to play an unspectacular but steady game after being out since March 5 with an eye injury. Newcomer John Moore continued to grow and looked really good in his new post on the power-play point. And Ryan McDonagh, who committed the penalty that ended up in the game-winning goal Saturday, had a big bounce-back game and a terrific play at the blue line on the game-winning goal by Derek Stepan.

The return of Staal and the emergence of Moore — a strong-skating, strong-bodied, strong-shooting youngster obtained in the Marian Gaborik deal — has given the Rangers depth on defense.

And that depth has helped the offense.

“I think part of our game, not just starting in the playoffs, but the last 10 or 15 games, we felt our “D” (was) coming off the blue line too early and not allowing us to create more offense,” Rangers coach John Tortorella said. “And especially with a guy like him and a guy like McDonagh, if they get caught for some reason they can recover. So, for all our “D,” we have tried to keep them on that blue line longer so we can create offense.

“We want them up on plays rather than backing off and giving up ice.”

Moore took a chance on what he termed a 50-50 puck, went on instinct rather than on gamble, and kept it in at the blue line leading to Arron Asham’s goal.

Moore played 15:50, Staal 17:17. That allowed the Rangers to keep McDonagh’s and Dan Girardi’s minutes reasonable, and while Micheal Del Zotto had some bad shifts and Anton Stralman was up and down, the Rangers defense was deeper and better.

“Any time you get a guy like (Staal) back — he plays all situations, plays big minutes, just allows the minutes to be evened out and fresh legs on the ice at all times — any time you bring a guy like that back it’s a huge boost,” Del Zotto said.

The Rangers still are waiting for one of their injured forwards, Ryane Clowe, to return, and have probably lost another for a while after Darroll Powe was knocked from Game 3 on an elbow by Joel Ward.

Powe, who suffered a concussion earlier in the season, did not return to the game and was not on the ice for practice Tuesday.

Rick Nash was given a day off for what the Rangers called “maintenance” though it’s not clear if he’s injured.

Clowe, who has missed four games with what is likely a concussion, did practice and took part in battles and contact and said he doesn’t know if he will be able to play in Game 4 Wednesday. He had been aiming to return for each of the first three games, but unable to do so.

Photo by Getty Images.

 

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10 Comments

  1. Manny, just thinking of you getting a “sweet pump” at the gym has me in hysterics contemplating the various connotations and contortions of that comment.

    As Jack Benny might have said….well!!! ;)

  2. And Manny would there be a video of you getting “pumped” at the gym ,priceless!

    Don’t mess with old guys! ;)

  3. Sioux-per-man 9.5 on

    Moore Power Play Goals!!!!!!

    See you all on the other side :)

    #BelieveNYR

  4. Stranger Nation on

    Dont give up the fight

    Never give up the fight!

    Biggest game of the season…until the next one

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