Originally written on The Rangers Tribune  |  Last updated 11/14/14

It was quite clear going into this game that the Rangers needed to play better hockey, despite having won five of their last six prior to tonight. They did that and managed the blank the red hot Maple Leafs, 3-0, to again take over the top spot in the National Hockey League. For the first time in several weeks, the Blueshirts again played a complete team game, and as they’ve shown plenty of times over the course of the season, they can be very dominant when doing that.

The Rangers had a very active first period in the physicality department. Led by captain Ryan Callahan, the team was hitting everything in sight and was making sure to set the tempo right from the get-go. At one point in the opening stanza, the Blueshirts held a 13-3 advantage in hits over the Maple Leafs. One weakness the Leafs have acknowledged having in their lineup is size, and the Rangers made sure to exploit that from the beginning.

New York did not find a way to get a puck past Jonas Gustavsson until the second period, however. At 3:35 of that period, Derek Stepan led an odd-man rush that saw him skating alongside Wojtek Wolski and Mike Rupp. Stepan dropped to Wolski, Wolski gave it back to Stepan, and then Step sent it across for Mike Rupp, who one-timed the pass to the back of the net. Hard to follow? It should be, but that speaks to how well executed this play actually was.

The Rangers would strike again at 16:28 of the second when Brian Boyle’s long wrister beat Gustavsson to break a 22-game scoreless streak. Out of anyone in the lineup, Boyle was the one who needed a goal the most, and finally he was able to get it on a simple shot to the net through traffic. It was a perfect way for the Rangers to cap-off an absolutely dominant 20 minutes in all three zones.

In the third period, Derek Stepan found himself on the scoresheet again when he took a Carl Hagelin pass and made a slick move to beat Gustavsson to give the Rangers a 3-0 lead at 6:01. That came shortly after the Leafs came very close to scoring, but were not given a goal due to inconclusive evidence upon video review.  To be honest, though, I do think that puck crossed the line.

The Rangers would eventually cruise to a 3-0 win over the Leafs.

I liked Marty Biron’s play in goal tonight, even though he was not tested all that much. When he was challenged, however, he was very strong in the net because the Leafs were coming very hard to the crease area. Again, Biron has been incredibly reliable when backing-up for Henrik Lundqvist this season, and that makes life for Hank and his team much easier. Aside from making 19 stops tonight, Biron also picked up an assist on the Stepan goal in the third period.

Derek Stepan has taken some heat as of late for hitting a slump, but he had an excellent outing this evening in Toronto. I felt like Derek skated very well tonight and that enabled him to earn more space and time with the puck. And when Step has space and time, he’s almost always going to make something happen. We saw that on both the Rupp goal and the one he scored on his own in the third.

Yet again, the Brian Boyle line was very effective tonight, even though the coach has previously said “that line cannot be our best.” It all starts with forechecking and relentless effort, and both of those were going for this trio all game long. They did lose Ruslan Fedotenko late in the second period due to back spasms, though. Fedotenko has played in every game for New York so far this season. 

And on defense, Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh were rock solid. They kept Phil Kessel quiet, they were very physical and obviously played a big part in earning Biron the shutout. Can’t ask for anything more than that.

The Rangers will be back at it tomorrow night against the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre. The Habs are a frustrated team right now, so the Rangers are going to need another strong effort like they had tonight. 

MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Wrigley Field bleacher renovation may be delayed

Yankees wanted Rollins but Phillies' price was too high

Pop misses game for medical reasons; Messina takes over

John Beilein upset with ESPN for late start time to game

Tyson Chandler felt like Knicks' scapegoat at times

Fred Jackson has 'no respect' for Donte Whitner

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Devon Still responds to unpaid child support allegations

Diamondbacks sign Cuban slugger Yasmany Tomas

Josh Gordon felt alienated by some in Browns organization

Jerry Jones: I'm a big admirer of Robert Griffin III

Raiola fined for uneccesarily striking Pats' Zach Moore

Report: Michigan keeping Jim Hackett on as athletic director

Steelers turned down chance to be called 'America's Team'

Report: Small chance Raiders-Rams could be moved to Indy

Todd Gurley begins rehab after surgery on knee for torn ACL

Brodeur to practice with Blues

OSU player posts Michigan player's girlfriend as his 'WCW'

Jim Harbaugh's family may not eat turkey thanks to NBC

Ole Miss' The Grove threatened by Mississippi State fan

Is it time for the Redskins to move on from Robert Griffin III?

Top 10 fantasy football turkeys for 2014

WATCH: Coyotes lose in ugly fashion, score own goal in OT

Warriors are having tons of fun on team plane

Jenn Sterger hints she'll be back in her FSU cowgirl gear for game

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Wrigley renovation may be delayed

Steelers could have been America's Team

John Beilein upset with ESPN

Should Washington move on from RG3?

Dominic Raiola fined for cheap shots

Game of the week: Kansas City Chiefs vs. Denver Broncos

Rose leaves with injury again

WATCH: Pierce signs for fan during game

Report: McCoy to start over RG3

Braxton Miller headed to Oregon?

10 most one-sided college football rivalries

Pierce: C's Big Three like 'Holy Trinity'

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.