Actually a pretty complete game all around for NY. The first and third periods, especially, had the Rangers skating hard and quicker to the puck. Rather refreshing, I must say.
Hank looked much improved over Wednesday's diabacle against Montreal. 19th career and 2nd shutout of the season. You can tell by his facial expressions and body language in the post game interview just how comfortable he felt.
Prucha was - again - a man possessed. Hitting, skating, shooting, doing all the good things he needed to do. When Dubinsky scored that first goal, I said immediately:
"That was all Pete."
Not that Dubinsky and Korpikoski didn't finish it, but none of that happens if Pete doesn't keep the play alive with two guys on him and playing from the ice.
If Pete can do it - why can't some of the other guys on the team show such effort, huh? He always does. Always has.
So Prucha had another great game. Dubinsky looked much improved. And who woke up Niki Zherdev?? Wow.
Korpikoski, who had a goal and an assist, said in the post game, "Z? He was just doing his thing. Dipsy-doodling." Although he said it more like his 'ding, dipzshe doodling. So cute!
Korpi played well, for sure. I didn't even see his goal. Even on the replay. It was that fast.
But Zherdev. Wish we could see more of that from him. Not that he hasn't been one of the Rangers best players this year. He has. But he's still inconsistent in it. Games like this though, we all get to see something very special. Another man possessed, if you will.
Only other thing I have to point out is I loved how after Chris Neil went after Staal - again - the whole team seemed to try to stick up for one another. I love Pete taking Schubert and ?? into the boards. He has ALWAYS been the first to jump into a scrum for a teammate. Others may cower, but him? Nah.
And who's not able to love Marc Staal? Neil is a pest. Staal stood his ground. Great stuff.
Really, though, about Neil. I mean I'd be fine if it was just shoves or talking crap at the faceoff or whatnot. But he's been elbowing Prucha in the face for years unpunished (except that one time that Prucha was able to nail him back :) and Neil was all like, look what he did to me). It's just a little dirty to me. Going for a guys face all the time. That's just my two cents. I'm sure I'm not alone. And Neil is not the only one, I'm sure.
As for Ottawa, I think they didn't play that badly but knowing how good they "should" be, it wasn't a great game. It's disappointing watching once great players like Spezza and Heatley not be effective. It's been rumored for a while, but if Spezza can get out of town, I think it would be a good thing for both sides. Let him jumpstart and shake up the existing team. Otherwise, for his part, goalie Brian Elliot played well for the Sens.
Bottom line. Rangers won. Pretty complete game. If you combine last game and the start of this game and that the Rangers went that long without a penalty - let alone a stupid penalty - that's news in itself. And a big win, I think given that it was a lot of games for the Rangers this past week. Important going forward. Nice to see them end on a good note.