Well the Rangers sure did show up last night. After an embarrassing loss in Pittsburgh, the Rangers took their anger out on the Toronto Maple Leafs. New York completely dismantled the Leafs, jumping out to a 5-0 lead before winning by a 7-1 score. The Leafs aren’t a strong puck possession team, but the Rangers completely dominated them to the tune of 63% of the shot attempts at even strength and 65% of the shot attempts while the game was close. That is pure domination.
Each and every Ranger showed up for the game. Cam Talbot made some key saves, the team got scoring from all four lines, the defense chipped in on offense, there were minimal defensive zone breakdowns. They forechecked, they backchecked, they forced turnovers, and most importantly they converted. This is a team that, when given the chance to fly, can out-skate most teams in the league. The Leafs gave them the room, and the Rangers took advantage.
On to the goals:
Rangers 1, Leafs 0
Carl Hagelin and Ryan Callahan forced a pair of turnovers in the offensive zone, leading to the puck being cycled to the point to Dan Girardi. With Hagelin and Brad Richards providing a screen in front, Jonathan Bernier leaned to the left to see what Girardi would do. Girardi’s shot went to the right, and Bernier had no chance.
Rangers 2, Leafs 0
Bernier just misplayed this shot by Dominic Moore. This is one he needs to stop, especially at that angle.
Rangers 3, Leafs 0
Benoit Pouliot had a great effort along the boards to wrestle the puck away from Paul Ranger and gain the offensive zone. The Rangers worked the puck around the zone, eventually getting the puck to Anton Stralman at the point. After that, Stralman found Derick Brassard at the half boards, who hit Marc Staal on the weak side cutting in while Pouliot circled to the slot. James van Riemsdyk coasted and watched the play instead of covering Pouliot, which allowed Staal to hit him in the slot for the easy goal.
Rangers 4, Leafs 0
Derek Stepan collected the puck in the defensive zone and threw the puck cross-ice to Chris Kreider streaking down the wing. Kreider used his speed to burn Cody Franson –who took a bad angle to Kreider– and then burn Bernier for the goal.
Rangers 5, Leafs 0
The Leafs simply gave up on this one. Nazem Kadri coasted, Jake Gardiner took a bad angle to Dom Moore and then hit him with a lazy stick check, and Dion Phaneuf didn’t come over to assist Gardiner once he was beat. This was a gift of a goal to Moore.
Leafs 1, Rangers 5
At this point the game ran too long and I didn’t get the last two Rangers goals. Sorry about that.
Pure domination for the Rangers. There’s no other way of putting this.
This is a win the Rangers can build on, but they need to play like this every single game. That has been the biggest issue with this team: They are consistently inconsistent. Perhaps the biggest issue is that they don’t know how to react when teams aren’t giving them the room to fly the way the Leafs did. New York has a chance to build some confidence against Columbus before a rough five game stretch against Chicago, Dallas, Philly, Tampa Bay, and Detroit.