New York Rangers Blueline Up To The Task In Game 2 Victory

Dylan McIlrath

With Dan Girardi out due to injury (and poor play), 23-year old Dylan McIlrath got the nod to see NHL ice for his first Stanley Cup Playoffs experience.

What did he provide? Well, he provided what you’d expect.

Early on it was clear the jitters were getting to him. He completely missed the puck on his first shift in his own end, resulting in a turnover.

After that he settled down a bit and actually got involved on the offensive end with his early-on partner, Yandle.

Later in the game he was beat twice in open ice. Once, Mats Zuccarello had to make a tremendous play in covering for the lumbering d-man.

While his high-end speed shows potential on certain plays – like the one he made against Shane Larkin during the last game of the regular season – his agility and overall skating ability leaves a lot to be desired:

McIlrath only played just under 10 minutes on Sunday. He finished with one giveaway, a shot on goal, and a +1 rating.

No, McIlrath will never be a top-four defenseman. Anybody can see that to the naked eye. He can, however, provide this charmin-soft lineup with many elements it desperately needs.

There are only two guys he should ever receive the nod over: Dan Girardi and Dan Boyle. Through two games, Boyle doesn’t deserve to lose his spot no matter how much he struggles to keep bodies out and away from the front of Hank.

As far as Girardi is concerned, we shall see. A healthy Girardi is the way to go, but it’s certainly encouraging to see McIlrath show some positives in his first playoffs action.

McIlrath should be used with caution, but never ruled out.