The Rangers may be the best 2 period team in hockey right now. They continue to look strong for the first 40 minutes - and then find a way to hang on at the end.
I want to say it was a huge win - but they're all huge wins now with the playoffs hanging in the balance. A 4-1 lead after the 2nd period all but disappeared as Callahan's empty net goal was needed to preserve the 5-3 win.
Nice to have an actual Ranger hockey game to write about - it's been a long 4 days.
I'm sure Nugman will have a more complete analysis later on - but let me hit a few of the highlights I saw:
- How many "deeks" was that on Callahan's first goal - 5 at least. Very cool and lots of fun to watch. And his empty netter iced the victory
- I think Lundqvist is tiring in the 3rd - and I wonder if he's still having that stomach issue
- We were outshot 40-31.
- Were were perfect 5 for 5 on the Penalty Kill. Huge difference maker.
- We were 1-2 on the Power Play. If we can keep those last two stats up we can compete with anybody.
- Antropov continues to impress me. Using the big body well and some nice stickwork on that through-the-legs-move in close.
- 37 saves for Lundqvist - not too bad.
- We scored at least 3 goals and won again. If we can score 3 or more we're very tough to beat.
- As much as I like Sean Avery - I read that during a play stoppage he approached Thomas Vanek - who is wearing a face shield to protect a broken jaw - stuck his fingers in the protective shield and tugged. This is why so many people can't stand the guy. But I know that he gets cheap shotted every night - notably losing his spleen to a stick in the gut last year while skating for the Rangers. So without knowing the history between him and Vanek I don't want to pass judgement. And you can't argue about how well the Rangers play with him on the team
The win keeps us in the hunt for 5th and further sinks the Sabres - who may be just about done now. They are 5 points behind Montreal for the final spot with 10 to play.
That would leave one less team that could put the Rangers out of the playoffs - which is nothing but good. As it stands now - we're still in 7th, 3 points up on the 8th place Canadians (who lost at home to Toronto tonight) and 4 points up on 9th place Florida (who lost to Columbus). Both of those teams will need to catch us to keep us out of the tournament. So there's a ways to go - but things are certainly looking up from a few games back when we were in 9th.
Tomorrow it is Rangers - Ottawa - who are themselves coming off a win tonight against the 'slanders.