Wednesday, March 11, 2015

"Ricochet" Nash's 39th downs the Islanders 2-1

The Islanders did play the night before while the Rangers rested – but after losing three in a row to the Islanders earlier this season we will take this one and happily exit the Nassau Coliseum – maybe for the last time ever.

The Rangers look better than I can ever remember them looking before.  They’ve been clamping down on defense – helping Cam Talbot who has responded by playing like a champion.  If this is how the Rangers look without their best player – Henrik Lundqvist – on the bench – well, I’m starting to dream of a special playoff run.

There were only two Ranger goals – and that was all they needed.  The first – to tie the game at 1-1 – was a tremendous play by Kevin Hayes.  After Zuccarello’s brilliant pass found Kevin with some time and space in the offensive zone, the Ranger rookie deked the Islander defenseman off his skates and out of the play, and did the hockey equivalent of the turn-around jump shot – whipping the puck in a semi circle as he approached from the right but beat Halak from the left. 

And the game winner was Nash’s 39th.  He basically threw the puck toward the net from the blue line – and it ricocheted off an Islander skate and into the net.  Good things happen when you attack - and Nash deserves a little help from the Hockey gods now and then.  

And with the Ranger’s relentless forecheck, puck movement and defense – that was all they needed.  Huge win for a team that looks to be in top form.  We were outshot 30-22 but Cam stopped all but one for a 0.967 save percentage.  Talbot has been huge since Hank went down. 

What Did We Learn?  For one night at least – the Rangers are able to clamp down on the Islanders and stop them from scoring.

Uh, A Little Help?  Assists?  The big assist is Mats Zuccarello’s – he got the puck to Hayes at the perfect time and place.  Brassard, Staal and Nash also had assists. 

Did Special Teams Determine The Outcome Of This Game?  We stopped the Islanders on their 4 extra-man opportunities – but we also failed on 4 powerplays.  So a wash.

Where Do We Stand?  It’s getting better all the time. One point behind the Islanders for first place in the Metro with 4 big games at hand.  2 points behind Montreal with two games at hand for first in the East. 

Oh My - What Will Happen Next?  No rest as we head to Washington to take on the Capitals – who we somehow lead by 7 points now.

Non-Sequitur of the day:  We lost the face off battle – again – this time 32-23.  So maybe that is a meaningless stat.  Oh –and the Philadelphia Eagles appear to be insane. 

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