Game 82 Highlights, Quick Thoughts

If you still in a state of euphoria from the New York Rangers making the playoffs and can’t get enough of the highlights from yesterday’s must-win against the NJ Devils 5-2 here they are for your enjoyment…

Now that the regular season is over and we await the first game of the Playoffs, I wanted to share some thoughts I have on the season that was…

- I’m very proud of what the boys were able to accomplish this season. They developed an identity; one that included character, resiliency, determination, and unity. They were able to overcome injuries all season long to exceed expectations. It’s not often the Rangers’ fans are treated to a lunch-pail, homegrown team to root for but that’s what this team is.

- The way John Tortorella was able to assimilate the youth on to this team and get them to play productive, important minues should be commended. From the outset of training camp, Derek Stepan belonged on this team and proved it all season long, finishing 4th on the club in scoring with 45 points (21 g, 24 a +8). Michael Sauer developed into a solid, reliable 2nd pair defenseman and when his eventual partner Ryan McDonagh was called up, formed a secondary shut-down pair behind Staal & Girardi. Even Mats Zuccarello showed flashes of brilliance at times in his 42 games. These players will benefit greatly in their development with some playoff game experience.

- Henrik Lundqvist is the New York Rangers; without him they are nothing. He proved it night in and night out this season once again. His next goal is to carry this team on his back to a Stanley Cup; its one of the few things he hasn’t accomplished. Hank gets a chance at revenge by facing the same team that eliminated the Rangers the last time they made the playoffs in the Washington Capitals.

- I felt acquiring Bryan McCabe paid dividends for New York. While still not as consistent, the Rangers’ PP markedly improved once McCabe and his shot arrived on Broadway. If the PP does get going in the playoffs, it could be an x-factor for the Rangers.

- The veteran influence on this team  is underrated. Vinny Prospal’s enthusiasm is infectious. Chris Drury suiting up for the last game and scoring a game tying goal was an absolute lift to a hockey club needing it. On the bright side, Drury is fresh from all the games he missed from his injuries. If he can live up to his “Captain Clutch” label, the Rangers’ are that much better.

Until we find out the playoff schedule (won’t be released till later tonight), just remember one thing. THE NEW YORK RANGERS ARE IN THE 2010-2011 PLAYOFFS!!

Tags: Artem Anisimov Brandon Dubinsky Chris Drury Dan Girardi Derek Stepan Henrik Lundqvist John Tortorella New Jersey Devils New York Rangers Playoffs Ryan Callahan Vinny Prospal

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