New York Rangers: Better late than never
Nov 29, 2016; New York, NY, USA; The New York Rangers celebrate after defeating the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers eventually awoke from their two period slumber to mount a comeback and beat the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 at the Garden. 

When the buzzer finally sounded at the close of the second period last night at Madison Square Garden, most New York Rangers fans were collectively running towards the nearest ledge.

After all, the team looked eerily similar to last years anemic crew after a lackluster 40 minutes of play.

The Rangers weren’t moving as a unit through the transition game, they weren’t forechecking as a group (sending one player in for the puck will rarely work for the Rangers), and the defense seemed unable to make that crisp first pass which has ignited the quick neutral zone play we have witnessed for two months.


But as fans become spoiled with high scoring win after high scoring win, we often forget that there are two teams on the ice.

The Hurricanes were well studied on the Rangers transition game and countered with a hybrid trap in the neutral zone. They were able to clog the passing lanes which wouldn’t allow the Blueshirts to find their speed.

The Rangers seemed stunned and unable to adjust to this Carolina strategy.

Carolina, who boasts the strongest penalty kill unit in the league, also brought a very aggressive PK to what has been a struggling Rangers power play. The Rangers’ puck carriers were challenged immediately by a Carolina defenders, and the strategy worked for most of the game.

That’s when Rick Nash happened.

The irony of Rick Nash’s game last night is that he has been playing like that for weeks. Everyone wants him to post Patrick Kane numbers but often forget that his two-way style is invaluable.

Not only was Nash a shooting machine last night, but his defense was game-saving at times.

Jimmy Vesey awoke last night as well, and finished on the power play thanks to, you guessed it, Rick Nash’s effort.

Injuries and illness have hampered this team for the past couple of weeks. The losses of Mika Zibanejad and Pavel Buchnevich cannot be understated as their play-making and speed have been sorely missed.

Chris Kreider hasn’t been the same player since

There is also a bug going around the Rangers’ locker room, which has already claimed Michael Grabner and Josh Jooris as victims.

Henrik Lundqvist has been Henrik Lundqvist the past couple of games. While the Rangers won’t want to rely on the aging net minder on a consistent basis, it is evident that the King still has a knack for keeping the Rangers in games.

Is it time for Adam Clendening to sub in for Kevin Klein yet?

The Rangers haven’t been the highlight-reel team which fans enjoyed the first couple months of play, but they are still finding ways to win despite having key players out of commission.

This is not the 2015-16 Rangers. This year’s team is still dangerous offensively and can construct a comeback even when the outlook is bleak.

A big shout out to Carolina forward Ron Hainsey for taking an unsportsmanlike penalty and single-handily tanking his team late in the third period.

Why was he yelling at the referees to begin with? Hainsey swiped Ryan McDonagh‘s feet right out from under him.

The Blueshirts will be right back at it tomorrow night when they take on the Buffalo Sabres at the First Niagara Center.


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Chris Wengert
I've been a die hard Rangers and Giants fan for as long as I can remember. I enjoy sharing opinions, and hearing from fans that love their teams just as much as I do. Henrik Lundqvist makes all of us look like mere mortals. E-mail me at: Chris.Wengert@elitesportsny.com