1. Nights like last night and Sunday night against Tampa are few and far between and we should get to enjoy them when they happen. However we should take some cues from last season and recognize the high scoring isn’t going to last for the next 72 games and potentially into the playoffs. But there is a major difference between last year and now. First, the Rangers aren’t being bolstered by Lundqvist, who carried the team through the first two months of last season before the house of cards collapsed. This season, they’re being bolstered by a sky high shooting percentage, which is already 3.5 points over league average in a season where scoring is already up over last season. The Rangers aren’t being dominated possession-wise in these games, where they’re scoring 5 goals on only around 20 shots and allowing 30+ plus. Through last night, the Rangers are 5th in the league in shots per game and fifth best in the league in shots allowed. Nights like last night where the Rangers allowed 35 shots are anomalous.
2. It might be easy to see how and why the Rangers are having so much success on a micro level. The Rangers winning the Vesey sweepstakes possibly forced AV’s hand in ensuring Tanner Glass to Hartford and playing the speed/transition game that the Rangers got away from last season. Vesey has exceeded everyone’s realistic expectations and doesn’t seem “green” in any way. Hayes’ offseason training regimen, a lot of which he posted on social media is paying dividends and his skills with the puck are well ahead of last season. Same with Rick Nash, who told Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman that he’s trying new things, but sticking with the routine that equated to a 42 goal season in 14-15.
3. Nash is an interesting case study because now for the first time as a Ranger, the team isn’t leaning heavily on him for scoring output. But even as he admits to Friedman, he thought that he wouldn’t get that chance. “I prepared myself for it. You understand it’s business, not personal. It’s what organizations go through. When we lost, we finished knowing it would be the last time for all of us playing together as a 23-man group.” Despite some trade rumors, Friedman and Larry Brooks from his column on Sunday said that the Rangers were never approached with a serious offer for Nash. And good on Jeff Gorton, not only for finding the cap room to keep Nash around, but not selling low on a guy who could easily put together 35+ goal season.
4. Need an unbiased opinion on the Rangers and their start to the season? Look no further than Ken Hitchcock’s comments following last night’s game.
(Photo credit: Jared Silber / NHLI via Getty)