Jan. 26, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal (18) is congratulated by teammates after scoring the go-ahead goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs during the third period at Madison Square Garden. Rangers win 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

The Real Big Three

Coming off a bad loss to the Flyers, most New York Ranger fans were optimistic that the boys would turn it around against the Leafs. The first period led us to believe something very different. It felt like more of the same, although the rangers controlled most of the period, they couldn’t convert and yielded two terrible defensive blunders leading to two Leafs goals. The first one was on DG and Mac and the second on Stall and MDZ. Both pairs let a player in behind them and Hank basically had no chance of stopping either goal. Now overall I can’t say anything bad about Marc Stall as he was again fantastic last night with a goal and an assist and a +4 rating. MDZ started to show flashes of his play last year being much more assertive and aggressive, shooting the puck on net, giving great outlet passes to streaking forwards and jumping into the play like we need and want him to do. Now if he could only teach Mac how to hit the net with his shot and not shoot wide every time. I thought DG was solid again last night as well both offensively and defensively. Not so sure the other two guys played at all last night, hahaha…

Now getting to the real point of this article, the BR-Nash-Gabby line was again unstoppable. Gabby nets two goals, Nash has 8 shots on goal and pockets 2 assists, and BR gets a goal and an assist and all 3 were also a +4. To me the saucer lob type pass that Nash made to gabby to seal the 5-2 win was case in point why he is so special and why he and gabby will set the record books together for the NYR. I can’t say it enough and I don’t think his reputation for it around the league is great enough, but his vision and awareness on the ice is absolutely world class. Of course we would love to see him bury a few more, but that will come in time and as long as he is contributing and making Gabby and BR’s lives a little easier, that’s why slats went after him so hard. Gabby needs no writing, he has been stellar so far in two of the 5 games and will get more consistent as that line meshes more and continues to get help from the back end. I thought Hags played his first real solid game of the season utilizing his speed to set up many chances along side Ferriero who looked nice at times as well. Step still needs to step it up(no pun intended) especially with the signing of Jason Arnott(a little more on that later). Pyatt and Cally also played very solid games. The offense went out and tried to take it to the leafs, but Reimer was up to the task in the first and second, but the flood gates opened for a four spot in the 3rd. I think all involved would love more consistency and hopefully that will come in the coming days and weeks.

I like the signing of Jason Arnott as it adds depth down the middle which is sorely needed and it will help to push Derek Stepan into picking up his game or he may lose hos second line status. Arnott put up 34 points last year for the blues and is a big body who might be able to help on the PP. Speaking of the PP, not much one can say on that. Last night was more of the same, no shot from the point, no net presence and no creativity. Something needs to change and fast or those extra goals you get from scoring at an average clip on the PP will hurt the NYR in the long run. I have said for a few days now to give Marc Stall a shot playing in the roll that Chara plays for the Bruins sometimes, in between the circles as a screen, but also roaming out to the point to get his shot away. He has excellent hands for a D-man and can really be an asset n my opinion. I think Stall has the heaviest of shots from the point of any ranger d-man and his excellent form should afford the coaching staff to at least give it a shot. I mean what more do you have to lose as the PP can’t look any worse. So to sum it all up, an amazing 3rd period putting up a 4 spot on the leafs was led by Gabby’s 4 points and 2 points to each BR and Nash for a total of 8 points for that line and a +12 rating combined. I would call that dominating, now lets keep the momentum rolling against Philly on Tuesday.. Let’s Go Rangers….

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