The Rangers got their two big points last night against the sliding Isles and the future led the way. J.T. Miller opened up the scoring 89 seconds into the match with a nice finish past Evgeny Nabokov. The other future Chris Kreider worked the puck off the wall to Miller, who fumbled it a bit and then recovered quickly to make a move and get Nabby shuffling enough to beat him.
The Blueshirts doubled their lead when Marian Gaborik caught a juicy rebound of a Marc Staal shot and slipped a wrister off the post and past Nabokov. Welcome back, Gabby and thanks for the worst goal celebration in history.
In the second, the Islanders cut the lead in half when John Tavares sniped a bullet past Henrik Lundqvist. The NYR opened up the lead at the end of the period when Ryan McDonagh zipped a breakaway pass to J.T. Miller who exploded into the Isles zone and tucked his second of the game, season, and career under Nabby’s arm for the 3-1 lead. This all occurred on the power play it should be noted. It should also be noted that Miller is now tied with Rick Nash, Brad Richards, and Ryan Callahan with two goals on the season.
The Rangers closed the scoring late in the third when McDonagh knocked down a pass and flipped a puck into the empty net. McD is the Rangers best defenseman and had a whale of a game vs the Isles, but Jeez man, recognize that the kid with two pops in his first NHL game is skating along side you. Slide the puck over there and let him take a crack at the trick. You are up two there, not one so get the kid the puck.
Aside from that minor transgression, its hard to knock McD. He can flat out wheel. Joe Micheletti had an analyzegasm last night describing McDonagh’s speed closing on Isles forwards. He can play D and he can play O. Its kind of surprising though that he scored his first points of the season last night. Hopefully he’ll start getting more involved in the offense now.
And hopefully like McDonagh, the rest of the Rangers are starting to put it together. After 10 games of bi-polar hockey, the Blueshirts need to become the team that Slats assembled. They did get a PPG, but that was due more to McD’s brilliant pass and Miller’s finish than any kind of set-up or strategy. The PP is now 4-36 and has to get better. For further analysis of the power play, please refer to every other rangerface.com post.
The 22 million dollar first line has to score more than 10 goals after 10 games. That total should be should be doubled. They will score, but the clock is ticking.
The newly-minted second line of Kreider, Cally and Miller brought energy and pressure. Its the type of line that can get in on the forecheck, back in the defense and pop some goals. Their speed/grit combination should give the NYR a solid second line that can bury.
The third line, now Stepan, Ryatt & Hagelin? looks like they may not score very much but could be an effective checking unit. Though that could change if Stepan can find his game and Hagelin can find some scoring touch. If they become a credible threat, this offense could be dangerous.
Once Boyle gets out of his civvies and back into the lineup, the fourth line of BB, Powe and Halpern should kill penalties run at least at even plus minus.
Hank will be Hank. He is now at 2.61/.907% and will improve those numbers.
There are 38 games left and 76 points to be had.
Was last night’s win vs the Fishsticks the the point where the Rangers start becoming the Stanley Cup favorite team that Slats built?