Sunday, December 28, 2014

3 Coaches for NJ – 3 Goals for Stepan – 8 in a Row!

Eight Games – Eight consecutive wins – And your New York Rangers are flying.

Can anyone question the impact Alain Vigneault has had on this New York Rangers hockey club?  Season one he took us to the Stanley Cup Finals.  And this year he has the Rangers on their longest win streak in recent memory – 8 consecutive wins.  And we’re winning even when we don’t play our best hockey – like last night where we outclassed the New Jersey Devils 3-1.

The Devils had just fired their head coach – and his replacement was – well – it’s complicated:

Hall and Oates?

Not exactly.

Adam Oates and Scott Stevens?  Two coaches?

Well, yes – but not exactly.  They are co-coaches (Editor - CoCo for short?).

(Dave Pucks – not exactly)

(Editor – so there are two coaches?)

(Dave Pucks – yes – but its more complicated than that)

(Editor – how could it be more complicated than two coaches at the same time?)

(Dave Pucks – because the GM – Lou Lamoriello – said that he also wanted to stand behind the bench for the next few games)

(Editor – so now there are three coaches?)

(Dave Pucks – apparently so.)

Anyway – with three coaches behind the bench – the Devils came into this game heavily coached.  In fact – you could say Rangers Coach Alain Vigneault could have been outcoached 3 to 1.   

But – instead – it was the Rangers who prevailed 3-1.  Here’s what happened:

In the first – the Devils were on the powerplay when Derick Stepan stole the puck at the point and had a break away.  Stepan advanced on Cory Schneider – deked him – and calmly slid the puck 5-hole for a 1-0 lead.

In the second – the Rangers were on the powerplay when Marty St. Louis absolutely ripped a one-timer toward the New Jersey net.  Stepan was trying for a tip in – but the puck’s velocity was so fast that neither Steps or Schneider had a chance to react.  The puck hit Stepan and bounced on in for a 2-0 lead. 

But then – mid way through the 2nd – the Devils found a way to score – Steve Bemier off a perfect feed snapped the puck past Lundqvist and we were back to a one goal lead.

And that’s how the third period unfolded until late in the contest when the Devils pulled Schneider to get the extra skater.  Moments after Rick Nash’s offside spoiled his own empty netter – Stepan gained possession of the puck – made his way to the red line and netted his hat trick at 19:05 to close out the scoring.

The Rangers had 28 shots on goal and held NJ to just 20. 

Did Special Teams Determine The Outcome of this game?  I’d say yes.  The Rangers scored on the Power Play – scored shorthanded – scored on an empty net – and killed off 4 penalties. 

Where we stand:  The Capitals – damn them – keep on winning.  But – with 42 points and two games at hand – the Rangers have 3rd place in the Metro Division and now only trail the 2nd place Islanders by 5 points with 2 games at hand.  And we are three points above the “line of death” – the 9th place Boston Bruins.

What Next?  Monday night brings us to Dallas to take on the Stars who are 15-14-5 in the Western conference.  Can we win 9 in a row? 

We’ll see tomorrow.

Dave Pucks Out and thanks for listening

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