It took three months, but we're finally getting a glimpse of the offense we all expected under Alain Vigneault.
The speedsters who where suffocated under the John Tortorella regime, such as Chris Kreider, Mats Zuccarello and Carl Hagelin are now leading the way.
After the Rangers thumping of the Capitals Sunday night, the players discussed how they're using their speed to create offense (via Bergen Record)…
“I think once we get pucks deep our speed really pays off. We can get to pucks first, we can get a forecheck established. I think when we get in trouble is when we don’t get pucks deep and turn it over on our blue line and their blue line.”
“It’s one of our strengths. We have a quick lineup and we can get hard on the forecheck if the D-men are bobbling pucks or anything like that. We create a lot of turnovers that way and I think you can see that in our play.”
…yes, speed is an obvious factor for the Rangers renaissance, but as myself and many on the blog have been saying, it always comes down to battle level. Earlier in the season they took way too many nights off and weren't a hard team to play against. Now they're skating with a sense of purpose, displaying a tough forecheck and it's translating into offense. Speed is great trait for a team to have, but it becomes deadly when combined with determination.
…now I'm not sure if the three games in December in which they rallied from deficits against the Flames, Penguins and Islanders in successive games (only won one of those games) proved to them that they needed effort to go along with AV's offensive system to be successful or maybe the Carcillo acquisition (6-1 since he joined the team) gave the team a sense of confidence knowing someone now has their back, but they're now playing with the energy and passion we've been begging for all season.
…and how much fun has it been to watch these guys buzzing all over the ice, while finally seeing guys like Nash and Richards display the type of skill that has made them elite players in the NHL.