Mar. 5, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers left wing Rick Nash (61) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against the Philadelphia Flyers during the third period at Madison Square Garden. Rangers won 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

Blueshirts Fly Over Flyers

The Rangers are starting to pick up their intensity as a hockey team. Having attended the game against Buffalo on Sunday the Rangers did not show much life through the first two periods of the game. But once Patrick Kaleta hit Richards from behind, everything changed during that game and it is starting to look like the Ranger season has changed from that hit. Tonight was a fun rivalry game to watch. It looked as if both teams really wanted to get these very important two points. Surprisingly, the Rangers came out flying. The Rangers have had multiple poor starts to begin the year. Tonight was a 60 minute effort that we have not seen enough of this year from this team. There were a lot of things that stuck out to me in this win. First of all, I believe Richards must be on the second unit of the power play. The Rangers moved the puck around on the power play very well tonight without him playing on the point. I do not take him off the power play entirely however I do make it an effort to leave the first unit together because they have been remarkable in these last two games. Hagelin continues to play great and Stepan is playing tremendous as well. I thought Stepan was the worst forward by far to begin the year but he has found his game and is making big plays for that top line. Callahan is proving by example why he is the captain of this team. Callahan developed into an absolute stud last year with a big breakout year. He can hit, play gritty, fight, shoot, score, block shots and much more. There is nothing else this guy cannot do. Speaking of incredible players, what else is there to say about Rick Nash? The guy is the best and most talented forward I have ever seen play for the Rangers. I started to love the team in 2002 when they were terrible and no one comes close to this guy. The only player who was as dominate as Nash for the Rangers was Jagr in 05-06. But Jagr was out of his prime and Nash is just entering it. The guy is a flat out magician with the puck. He has several moves up his sleeve and is so lethal with the space he creates from his reach. He is the best forward on the team and can strike at any time. Imagine if he was not snake-bitten in the beginning of the year? He would be leading the league in goals but we will just appreciate what he is doing now for this team. And again I thought Lundqvist was a rock in net like always and had absolutely no chance on both of those goals. Which leads me to come to the realization of what our defense has become. Last year the Ranger D’ was so solid. They did not give up much, played physical and as a result they found long-term success and stability. This year the defense has become pedestrian again reminding us of the defense we saw when we had Redden and Rozsival. Some may disagree and say it isn’t that bad but the defense is now becoming the main problem with this team. Tonight Dan Girardi was at fault for both goals the Rangers gave up, particularly the first one leaving Wayne Simmonds open all alone in front of the net. This defense needs to get tougher. Numerous times in a game the opposing team’s players run Hank over and the response from the defense is usually terrible or non-existent. That needs to be addressed. This defense also needs to play the man and hit people. Why didn’t Girardi hit Voraceck when he was alone in front? I have no idea but he dived, missed the puck and gave Jacub Voraceck two chances to score the goal he eventually put in. If he had taken the body Voraceck would not have gotten the rebound. This Ranger team has had huge defensive holes this year and that part of their game will eventually be the bane of this team going forward if they cannot correct it. It has happened numerous times where they have given up glorious scoring chances for the other team but often those mistakes are masked because of our goaltender bailing them out. That was the one negative from the game and oh yea, Staal. Let’s all hope and pray that Staal can make a quick recovery. Let’s also hope that his vision isn’t seriously impaired. It was frightening to watch and once again makes me wonder why these players do not where visors. I think Staal will be wearing one as he comes back to the game but again hopefully it isn’t that bad of an injury. The Rangers play the Islanders at NVMC on Thursday where they look to extend their winning streak to four games.

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