What a difference between games one and two of the 2013-14 regular season it was for the New York Rangers.
Opening night was filled with mistakes, and last night was anything but. Unlike the first game of the season against the Phoenix Coyotes, the Rangers limited mistakes, forechecked beautifully, forced turnovers and put in a better all-around effort against the Los Angeles Kings that made them look like a completely different team. Every single Rangers player contributed in their first win of the season, a 3-1 beating of the Kings.
I don’t know what the Rangers did during their time off between last Thursday and last night, but it obviously worked as it looked as if they have known head coach Alain Vigneault‘s system for years.
The most impressive player was Brad Richards as he knotted two of the Rangers’ three goals and was actually noticeable out there on the ice. While not scoring a goal, Rick Nash was also one of the Rangers’ best skaters out there. Whether it was captain Ryan Callahan returning to the lineup or not, every Ranger played with his heart tonight and I was truly impressed, especially after how the Rangers played in their 4-1 season-opening loss.
Another player that can’t be left out of this is Henrik Lundqvist. He looked pretty bad during the preseason and in the first regular season game, but played closer to the Lundqvist of old against the Kings, looking much sharper last night.
One of the only negatives I have from last night’s win was the fact that two of the Rangers’ three goals were fluke goals; but hey, you take them anyway you can get them right?
But since the Rangers are still learning Vigneault’s system, there is still room to improve and fix that. My other negative was defenseman Dan Girardi‘s play as he looked to be the only weak link out there for the Rangers, and his turnover led to the Kings’ only goal of the game. He is a very solid defensive defenseman with a good track record however, so I would not worry too much, if any at all, about his game.
Overall, after having major doubts (and granted it is only one game), I have to give kudos to the Rangers as they really showed fans some great signs and improvement that they can hopefully build upon and continue to improve in order for the Rangers to have success this season.
Consistency has been the Rangers’ biggest problem over the years, and what better way to test out that consistency just one day later as they take on the San Jose Sharks in their first back-to-back of this long season?