The New York Rangers finally snapped out of their west coast funk last night after defeating the Florida Panthers by a score of 4-2.

By Chris Wengert

The panic over the New York Rangers play was pretty widespread following a losses to Los Angeles and San Jose.

And if you were one of those people who were worried, I was right there with you. The Rangers showed little to no signs of life against the Sharks and with the playoffs only three weeks away, there were plenty of reasons to be worried.

But then the Rangers come back with a strong win against Florida. Was it perfect, no, but there was a battle level we have not seen from the Blueshirts in a while.

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This inconsistency in the Rangers’ game brings up a plethora of questions. Is the inconsistency an effort issue? Is it AV’s decision making? Or were the Rangers just beat by the better team on that particular evening?


It’s a complex question.

Last night the Rangers had a strong forecheck, which caused some key turnovers. They Rangers are most effective when they send two forwards to the puck, rather than just one.

The Rangers changed their forecheck in the third, as they started sending just one forward to puck. The adjustment helped Florida, as they were able to break out of their own zone cleanly. But the Rangers buckled down later in the game with the help of Rick Nash.

Nash’s willingness to drive to net is by far his biggest asset, and was sorely missed while he was out with his bone bruise. He is always the go-to whipping boy, and for the money he’s making it’s understandable, but it’s going to take time for him to find his game.

It looks like he may be close.

 

You could almost hear the collective exhale throughout Rangerstown after Nash scored that third goal. It’s sad how scarred we all are as a result of the blown leads this season.

But let’s back up a bit, because we need to talk about Viktor Stalberg, who was also an absolute beast.

Stalberg is another player who is not afraid to go to the net, and the results speak for themselves.

The best part of this play (which cannot be viewed in this video) was the turnover that Stalberg initially caused to gain possession of the puck. He pressured Jaromir Jagr pretty heavily, which caused him to cough up to puck as a result.

That resulted in a pretty passing sequence between Stalberg and Dominic Moore. The rest is scoreboard. history.

The power play has actually looked decent for a while now. Of course there will be the occasional stinker, but Zucc proved that there is nothing wrong with just firing the puck at the net.

It was an amazing individual effort, as Zucc had to receive the puck, switch to his left shooting side, and then fire the puck-all in a split second.

The Rangers defense started to move the puck much more effectively at about the five minute mark of the first period.

But better puck movement still doesn’t hide the fact that the Rangers D have almost no presence in front of their own net. This one particular sequence (you know the one) could have completely deflated the Rangers momentum, but they finally were awarded with some puck luck.

But here is the thing about this play: What is Marc Staal doing searching for the puck? He should be clearing bodies out of the crease and away from Henrik Lundqvist.

And there lies a foundational issue with the defensive core- they either refuse to, or are not strong enough to impose their physical will in front of Hank.

Also, what the heck was the referee doing there? He almost chopped Hanks hand off, and that’s no exaggeration. Can you image the riots that would have taken place if were lost our most valuable player to a zebra? Yikes.

Tanner Glass, my Steven McDonald Extra Effort award choice, sealed the victory with the empty net goal and I loved it.

A fellow Rangers fan, J-Bone, created this picture, which the world needs to see.-12 Twitter

Totally.

The Rangers victory was even more important, as the Philadelphia Flyers beat up on the cross-town rival Islanders last night.

The Rangers have created a little bit of wiggle room with last night’s victory, but a win against Boston tomorrow night would be a huge boost to morale in Rangerstown.

NEXT: Tanner Glass Worthy Of McDonald Award

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