The games after losses this season have been must watch hockey games, and last night was extra special for the Rangers. Jonathan Quick would be facing his old team for the first time, the Rangers were embarrassed by the Capitals the night before, the LA Kings are a top 5 team this year, and the Rangers were wearing an alternate jersey, usually a cause for concern.

What started out as a tribute to the dead puck era in the first period escalated quickly in the second period with the Rangers scoring two gorgeous goals. Jimmy Vesey again scored a game winning goal. There was also a lovely ref show in the third period that almost derailed the game, but we’ll get to that in a bit.

The main story was Jonathan Quick standing tall and making 25 saves on 26 shots against his old team, giving them their first road regulation loss this season. You know that had to feel good for Quick.  I couldn’t even begin to imagine the emotion of going into a game against the only team he played for in his 15 year career (before his trade to Vegas, of course).

For Quick to be playing as well as he has this season as Igor Shesterkin’s backup is exactly what the Rangers hoped for when they signed him. He is the best Rangers backup this team has had in a long time. We don’t panic with the puck in the defensive zone like prior years with Georgiev, Pavelec, and even Halak.

The Rangers power play woke up again, and was one of the factors last night. It’s no secret that the Rangers have an arsenal of offensive weapons who can change the game on the power play. While they tread water at evens thanks to some key injuries, one thing hasn’t changed, the power play is their “ol’ reliable”. In fact, the power play is so dynamic, Jonny Brodzinski is scoring one timer goals on them while Mika serves a 10 minute misconduct!

Another positive last night, and perhaps most of the season thus far, was Will Cuylle. A pleasant surprise this season, he scored a beauty of a grease goal from a great pass from his current billet Vincent Trocheck. I can’t wait to see what this kid does in playoff games.

The refs made a show of themselves

Don’t you love a ref show? Man, I know the 18,000 in attendance at the game couldn’t wait to get into their seats, and watch the refs hand out 10-minute misconducts for their pure ineptitude to star players for virtually no reason. The officiating crew should be held accountable, but this is the NHL and professional sports, and only players and coaches can be questioned by the media. We wouldn’t want to hurt the super tough NHL officials by questioning their decisions.

Joe said it best on the broadcast, a 10 minute misconduct should only be reserved for when things get truly out of hand, not for barking at the refs for making questionable calls. Mika Zibanejad was the recipient of that misconduct, and Peter Laviolette was rightfully livid on the bench. Had the game been more out of reach, I wonder if he would have taken a bench minor and really let the official hear it.

The resiliency of the Rangers has been noted this year, and if this game was a preview of a possible Stanley Cup Final, then are we in for a wild ride. The good news is that the Rangers will only get better when injuries heal, and they will be even more dangerous. To put it in perspective, the Rangers are 19-6-1 with the corpse of Blake Wheeler, Mika Zibanejad in his usual first-few-months slump, and injuries to their 2C and a top 9 defensive winger.

They have found ways to win. Their backup goalie is now 8-0-1 on the year. This team is an absolute wagon with several AHLers on the roster, and they’re only going to keep improving as those things sort themselves out.

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