Found January 17, 2012 on Blue Seat Blogs:

This, as expected, was a relatively boring game. The Predators ran their 1-2-2/1-4 trap to perfection, but the Rangers were able to adjust to a dump and chase and generate some goals off board play. In the end, it was a grind it out game that had the Rangers emerge victorious, with another shutout for Henrik Lundqvist. This was a very important win for the Rangers who had lost two of three. On to the bullet points:

Offense

  • Zzzzzzzzzz….wait…the game is over?
  • Carl Hagelin was rewarded for past play by playing on the top line with Derek Stepan and Marian Gaborik, and he in turn rewarded John Tortorella for his confidence. Hagelin had another strong game where he notched an assist.
  • It’s amazing how much difference having Brandon Dubinsky and Ruslan Fedotenko in the lineup has. The Rangers were much stronger in their own zone tonight, and those two players in the lineup make a huge difference.
  • Face off percentage, meet regression to the mean. Regression to the mean, meet face off percentage.
  • As we mentioned in the pregame thread, the Predators played their 1-2-2 and 1-4 to perfection. The Rangers adjusted, and just outworked them along the boards. That is solid coaching with solid execution.
  • How about that John Mitchell? He sure is earning his ice time. That was a good shot that Anders Lindback robbed him in the second, but then he followed that up with a nice curl back and a goal about three minutes later.
  • When your big guns aren’t scoring, you need secondary and tertiary scoring. The Rangers got that tonight.
  • Still wondering where Brad Richards is. Maybe Olivia Munn can give him a pity “date” so he can find his mojo?

Defense/Goaltending

  • Dan Girardi with a lucky goal, but hey, I’d rather be lucky than good. In Girardi’s case, he was both tonight.
  • There wasn’t much to really say about the rest of the Rangers defense, there wasn’t much to really notice. Which leads to the next point…
  • The Rangers played a pretty good defensive game tonight, but they were definitely helped by the relative ineptitude of the Preds offensively. Not having Ryan Suter helped them too.
  • It’s tough to say that the last two games played by Henrik Lundqvist were weak games, but the fact is they were not in line with his normal games. Tonight was Hank being Hank. He was solid again, and made a string of saves in the second period that preserved the Rangers lead.

Opposition/Officiating

  • That was one bad call against Marian Gaborik on that double minor. Andrei Kostitsyn high sticks Mike Fisher, but Gaborik got the four minutes. Poor call, but tough to really tell.
  • There were a lot of icings on both sides. Such is the life of a trapping team, the Rangers long outlet passes worked sometimes, but resulted in icings other times.
  • The Predators, as we mentioned, are a team that win with various methods. But without Pekka Rinne and Ryan Suter, they were going to have trouble against a top-three team in the league.
  • If the Predators can manage to get one Suter/Shea Weber under contract, and deal the other for a killer package of offensive players, then they can be pretty good for years to come.
  • Anders Lindback had a nice game tonight. He had two goals against that were relatively flukey/screeny, but it is what it is. He played well.
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