It’s been almost a month, but the Rangers finally strung together back-to-back wins. And a good win at that. The teamed played hard, put pucks on net, were quick to loose pucks, won the individual battles, and Lundqvist reigned supreme again. They even won without a goal from Gaborik.
Especially active were Anisimov, Lisin, and Callahan. All good signs. Anisimov continues to offer glimpses of why the team has such high potential for him. In the last two games he’s made two strong moves around the net that resulted in goals and played well defensively. Lisin skated well and had some important hits. (I HATE the new no-hit icing rule. Maybe emphasize it if it is clear the icing will happen, but not when it’s somewhat close and the hit is clean. Same on the one when Redden went down. BS on both.) And Callahan continues to flourish. Ever since his shoulder healed and he got over the flu (which cost him about 10-15 games) he’s been his old self. Especially the last week. He deserves to be on the US Olympic team. He’s a guy you want to route for. Pretty much the only part of his game he needs to improve are his interviews — could they be any drier or canned? It reminds me of the interview Meat gave in Bull Durham when called up. All cliches. Even Staal has improved his interview skills.
Defense was solid again. Especially the top pair. Stall played more than 30 minutes. That’s insane!! He played incredibly well, and has been for a while. Basically since offense responsibility supposedly was taken away from him. I worry though, cause he did seem to tire in the last 10 minutes of the game. But he held on, and that’s a great sign of maturation. Now…wait for it. Cause I can’t believe I am about to write it. Roszival was great. His footwork on the power play getting in position to make a cross-blueline pass was something I’ve never seen from him. And he was steady to excellent defensively. The switch playing with Staal has reinvented him. Good coaching and good play by the player.
After the game the Rangers assigned Sanguinetti and Heikkenen to Hartford. The moves probably were made to provide roster manueverability before the NHL holiday freeze goes into effect at midnight. Then again, it also could be a precursor to a trade or Gilroy/Redden return.
It was nice to see Betts. Good job by Giannone (or maybe Joe) to point out that Brashear and he were on the ice for the first time together since Brashear’s cheap shot. I secretly was rooting for Betts to nail him.