henrik lundqvist

It’s that horrible day, the one between games but the Rangers are heading into Friday with a 3-1 series lead. Life can’t get much sweeter as a Rangers fan right now. Let’s throw up a few random thoughts on Rangers goings on.

It appears Rick Nash will always divide opinion. Has Nash been dominant? No he hasn’t but he’s been damn good. Not just putting points up but always involved in the offense, Nash also continues to be one of the most defensively responsible ‘superstars’ in the game. Give me that kind of team first goal scorer any day. Star players on successful teams buy into a team first approach. The Red Wings of recent years always had superstars who could play a good two way game. That’s why they are always a contender. That’s what the Rangers have in Nash.

Understatement of the week: Derick Brassard’s new contract continues to look like a bargain. He has 21 points in 21 games against the Penguins. He has three goals in 4 playoff games. Brassard’s maturation into a quality, consistent center is complete. His enthusiasm for goals is infectious. Kudos to Glen Sather for taking a calculated risk by committing to Brassard for the long term.

Dan Girardi has been a monster in this series. This is why the Rangers (over) committed to him. Girardi is a soldier, a warrior and a minute eating workhorse. He doesn’t play a pretty game and he isn’t a fancystat darling but go and do a survey of the GM’s around the league. I’m pretty sure the vast majority would love to have a guy like Girardi on their team. His contract is too long, but right now he’s a key cog in a successful Rangers machine.

Girardi’s 4 game, series numbers: 3 assists, 14 hits, 20 blocked shots, almost 22 minutes per game. Strong numbers across the board.

The Rangers have kept the Pens to one goal three times, yet the Rangers haven’t come close to playing their best for an entire game. While it leaves a nagging doubt that the Pens could still get back in this series, the fact the Rangers have (a lot of) room for improvement is exciting.

Dan Boyle has been solid so far. Seven months on, he’s not the player the Rangers thought they were signing but he’s doing fine and his possession numbers, particularly against Evgeni Malkin, have been strong.

Speaking of defense; Twitter is often a place for irrational thoughts and many people are thinking out loud whether Kevin Klein should even automatically go back into the line-up when he’s ready. He should, but the fact that’s even a debate on any level shows how well the Rangers defensive unit have played.

Hunwick auditioning? Matt Hunwick continues to prove what a bargain pick-up he has been. He’s not blown people away but he’s been solid and dependable and would be very much worth bringing back next season. Given his steady play, you have to wonder though whether another team will consider giving him more money and ice time than the Rangers would be willing to as a 6/7th defenseman.

Chris Kreider has a big goal to his name in this series and was much more physically engaged in game four but he needs to get better if the Rangers are to go deep.

After all these musings, it’s only fitting to end by talking about the Rangers most important player. Henrik Lundqvist hasn’t needed to steal a game but he’s been spectacularly good. A 1.74GAA, a .926 save percentage and he’s been incredibly poised given all the traffic he’s had to deal with. You can tell Lundqvist relishes tight, one goal games and wants to be the difference maker. Lundqvist is still the best goaltender in the game and you know he’d love to go head to head with Carey Price in a conference final.



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