Rangers 2, Blackhawks 1: Postgame thoughtsFebruary 28, 2014, by
– This was a pretty impressive victory considering: 1) the Rangers played without their best forward 2) started their backup goalie 4) are facing plenty of distractions 4) were returning from a long Olympic break and 5) were up against the defending Stanley Cup champions. But New York pulled out a 2-1 win to improve to 2-0-0 against Chicago this season. Better still, the Blueshirts have held the league’s best offense to just three goals in two games.
– Though Derick Brassard and Benoit Pouliot were missing their usual linemate, Mats Zuccarello, J.T. Miller filled in nicely and the third line played a very strong game. Brassard extended his point streak to seven games with the game’s first goal and Pouliot was great on the board all night. Miller’s tremendous forecheck led to Brassard’s goal after he amazingly picked Jonathan Toews’ pocket. Miller was very engaged all night and played easily his best game of the season.
– Who knows what will happen at the trade deadline, so we can’t look too far ahead. But right now, it’s hard to find a spot for Derek Dorsett in the lineup. Miller should get another game and Dan Carcillo has been playing too well to come out.
– Carl Hagelin looked awfully confident after being one of Sweden’s better forwards at the Olympics. Wonder if this will be the next step for him.
– While Martin St. Louis was scoring two early goals in Tampa Bay’s 3-2 loss in Nashville, Ryan Callahan was playing a classic Ryan Callahan game. He created several scoring chances right around the net, dished out a few healthy hits, and even took a shot off his head. If this was Callahan’s last game as a Ranger (I don’t think it was), it was a nice finale.
– To me, one of the greatest values of Rick Nash is his ability to be the team’s closer. His goal with the Blueshirts clinging to a 1-0 lead late in the third period was absolutely huge.
– What else can you say about Cam Talbot at this point? He missed shutting out the best offense in the NHL by just 12 seconds. In the past, it has seemed like the Rangers saved their backup goalie for games against easier opponents. That hasn’t been the case with Talbot. He has beaten Chicago, Detroit, Minnesota and Vancouver already this year. That toe save he made against Patrick Kane on the doorstep in the game’s final moments was big time.