Originally written on The Rangers Tribune  |  Last updated 10/18/14
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

Report: Kobe has prevented Lakers from signing top talent

Alleged details of War Machine's suicide letter released

Austin Davis says Rams security didn't recognize him

LeBron: Bulls are 'much better' than Cavs right now

Redskins to stick with Colt McCoy over Kirk Cousins

Rick Pitino: Louisville will beat FSU in football

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Rams considered favorites to move to LA

Kobe to Julius Randle: You’re an idiot if you (expletive) this up

Slava Voynov arrested on D.V. charge, suspended indefinitely

Report: Ray Rice could be reinstated within next month

Earl Thomas: Refs need to stay out of it and let us dominate

Browns lament ‘unacceptable’ loss to winless Jaguars

10 NBA players who could be traded by the All-Star break

WATCH: Jimbo Fisher gets annoyed, cuts interview short

WATCH: Les Miles has classic reaction to dumb question

WATCH: Tennessee coach tried to trip Ole Miss player?

News station congratulates Gary Payton for breaking TD record

Did Sidney Crosby troll Flyers fans with Halloween costume?

Why Dan Mullen is not leaving Mississippi State

12 amazing stats from Week 7

World Series preview: Will Giants or Royals win it all?

NFL tweets graphic of recipients of Manning's 509 TD passes

Hockey fights of the week

10 takeaways from NFL Week 7

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!

Details of War Machine's suicide letter leaked

Angry Jimbo Fisher cuts off interview

Is Kobe's deal hurting the Lakers?

Tenn. coach tried to trip Ole Miss CB?

GGG continues his reign of terror

The 6 things that mattered this weekend in the premier league

News station congratulates Gary Payton for TD record

Ray Rice could be back by Week 10?

12 amazing stats from Week 7

World Series preview

Favre: I got calls about playing last season

10 takeaways from NFL Week 7

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.