The Rangers avoided the dreaded “trap” game tonight, beating the last-place Blue Jackets 3-2 in overtime at the Garden. This one had a little bit of everything; beautiful passing plays, some good saves, refereeing controversy and a Rick Nash goal. Let’s get to the bullets…
- What I was looking for in a rebound from the Chicago game was a defensively responsible performance, while getting back to a hard forechecking, physical offensive zone style. The Blueshirts delivered tonight. They played a little tentative offensively, but were tremendous on defense (save for two defensive zone face-offs) and played a physical game, winning battles and creating pressure.
- The forecheck was much better tonight. They forced Columbus to make mistakes in their own end, creating sustained pressure and turnovers.
- Some beautiful passing on Richard’s goal and Stepan’s game winner, :22 seconds into OT. Michael Del Zotto made fantastic passes on both goals.
- Artem Anisimov played one hell of a game, as did Brad Richards.
- For those who missed it, Michael Del Zotto made a tremendous move around a Blue Jacket defender and slid the puck past Steve Mason as the second period came to a close. The MSG jumbo-tron clock had the puck crossing the line with .01 seconds remaining. The referees subsequently waived if off, claiming the “official” clock read 0.00. A picture was shown during the broadcast showing the puck still not across the line with 0.00 on the clock. Goal disallowed.
- Torts can claim it was the right call all he wants, but someone screwed up. How in the world is the NHL’s official time clock not synced to the Garden clock? It’s pure insanity to me that there could be a discrepancy between the two when there is so much on the line. If the Rangers had lost in overtime, they would have been robbed of a point.
- The Rangers carried play for most of the game, out-shooting Columbus 35-23 and giving Hank a relatively easy night.
- Two defensive zone draw losses lead to both Columbus goals.
- The Power Play looked like crap yet again. That 5-on-3 was painful to watch.
- Did I mention how well Del Zotto played?
- The much-maligned Steve Mason played well tonight, excusing some ugly rebounds. I still see a ton of talent in the kid, I just think he needs a change of scenery badly.
- Hank played a solid game, though I have a feeling he might want Nash’s goal back. He didn’t have a ton of heavy lifting to do, save for one beauty on Jeff Carter in the final minutes of the 3rd.
- That makes 8 straight wins following a loss dating back to mid-December.
- Now, I know I’m poking the bear here, but from a purely salary cap standpoint, if you were to think of Nash as a replacement for Gaborik (he would have to be resigned at age 32) does that change the analysis at all? If Nash were a free agent right now, would you advise Sather to give him 6/47 and then save money by letting Gaborik walk in 2014?
- I admit it, I miss Vinny Prospal a little…
Off tomorrow, followed by a tough divisional match-up in Pittsburgh Tuesday night.