The New York Rangers (9-8-2) used the returns of Michael Del Zotto, Ryan McDonagh and Rick Nash to defeat the Tampa Bay Lightning (9-10-1) in dominant fashion at MSG Thursday night 4-1 and end a four game losing streak. For a full box score of tonight's game, head over to Yahoo! Sports.
– To me, by far the most complete effort of the season in terms of everyone contributing in their own ways and playing to their roles. They also never stopped generating offense—an aspect that's been lacking all season long.
– None of the returning players from injury looked like they missed a beat. At all, which is remarkable to even think about. And none looked better than Rick Nash, who notched a career high 12 shots on net and made an immediate impact. A sick goal to reward his effort, as well.
– Carl Hagelin continues to impress. When you think of important players to the team's success, you have to start adding Hagelin to the conversation. If he's using his legs to create havoc on the ice and adding some goals, the Rangers are a different, more dynamic team.
– Ryan Callahan with another Ryan Callahan game. Yawn.
Continue reading for my thought's on Brad Richards' game, the improvements by Derek Stepan lately and some love for Taylor Pyatt.
– I liked Richards being placed with Nash and Hagelin tonight. It gave the struggling center a chance to feed off the energy of both players and I felt Richards had his best game in a while. Still not what he's capable of, but it's something to build upon.
– Stop traffic: The Rangers scored a power play goal tonight.
– Really feel Derek Stepan is starting to come into his own right in front of our eyes. Every game he seems to get better. Now with Ryan O'Reilly signing in Colorado, we can once again fawn over our own, talented young center.
– He didn't have much work early, but Henrik Lundqvist had a stellar third period when the Lightning finally dialed it up. Made some excellent "Lundqvist" saves and preserved the lead when it could've easily gone the other way. He'll be the first to tell you he needs to be better and perhaps his third-period effort is the beginning of a dominating stretch.
– Steve Eminger got Bickel'd after playing over 20 minutes last game. Can't make it up.
– I liked the balance of the lines, but I don't expect Marian Gaborik to stay on a checking line with Brian Boyle and J.T. Miller for long. Even though Taylor Pyatt has deserved the top-six minutes he has gotten lately. He works well along the boards and has made his line with Stepan and Callahan click.
– Speaking of Miller, he's been better lately and continues to show poise with the puck and isn't afraid to make plays. Amazing what some confidence will do.
– The Sabres come into town for a Sunday night showdown.
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