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Blueshirts Dominate Throughout, Finish Off Canucks In OT

You Corsi nuts can finally exhale. January’s been a much better month for the Rangers as far as fancy stats are concerned. But despite having the even strength Corsi advantage in 6 of 8 games since the calendar turned, the Blueshirts’ still haven’t hit their stride. Last night’s comeback win over the Canucks minus a Sedin got NY over the .500 hump for 2016 though after a nightmare December. The effort & assertiveness this squad had been lacking during their nose dive was on full display at MSG. A win streak would be nice, but there’s no questioning the Rangers’ improved play of late.
Should I have jumped up off my couch with a loud yell & a fist pump for a January OT win over a shorthanded Vancouver team? Ordinarily, no. With the inconsistency these Blueshirts have been battling though, losing a game where they absolutely manhandled their opponents to the tune of a 49-20 shots advantage would’ve been a huge blow.
Guys like Nash, Kreider, Stalberg & the Broadway hat winner JT Miller were outstanding. Watching #61 impose his will repeatedly & take pucks to Ryan Miller’s crease gives me hockey wood. I’m not gonna pretend to expect that on the regular all of a sudden, but I can dream. JT starting to blossom though as a Kreider-lite along with the real Kreider returning to form could be the shot in the arm this team needs.
There’s still some worry on the blueline, but it’s the Rangers young forwards that are key to their success. A strong offense can be a help to their defense – and I don’t just mean goal scoring. Brassard & Zucc will do what they do and, to a more disappointing degree, so will Nash. Kids like Kreider, Miller & even Hayes – they are the difference-makers. They’ve gotta continue their upswings & grind down the opposition with energetic offensive zone control. That’s the piece that, even in their early season winning ways, they’ve been missing. Regardless of their talent level the Blueshirts have usually been an “easy” team to play. That’s beginning to change. The wins are soon to follow.
P.S. – Speaking of kids, check out this Brady Skjei OT game-winner from the other night. Can’t wait to have his skating & McIlrath’s grit patrolling the back end full-time.