Rangers Defense in Panic Mode? Not So Fast
Thursdays 3-2 loss to the Colorado Avalanche only proved one thing, in game one of life without Ryan McDonagh; they miss his offensive power, and his vision on the ice to open up plays.
Defensively the Rangers are still a sound bunch. The new top pair for the Rangers defense Anton Stralman and Marc Staal, for the time being played solid. And the return of John Moore shows the Rangers depth on defense is a good thing to have. Yet, the offensive power that McDonagh possesses is what this team missed the most.
Spotlight Focus: John Moore
Moore, returning from concussion symptoms missed six games, and started off last night’s game with a nice shot from the point passing Varlamov giving the Rangers an early 1-0 lead. While offensively Moore is still growing, and some say he can be better offensively than McDonagh, his defensive game was a little shaky. While not his fault, he jumped the wrong way, leading to the tying goal early in the second period.
Moore is fighting for his lineup spot, due to the emergence of Rapheal Diaz, who has played well since the injury to Moore, and last night in Colorado as well. Diaz may be the best option in the playoffs over Moore, but its nice to know we have that option if things fall off with Diaz.
Pressure On: Marc Staal
Staal has quietly found his game again, and has put on a good string of games since the return from the Olympic break. Staal has the ability to be a solid top pair defenseman. This season after the pairing of McDonagh and Girardi, Staal and his partner Anton Stralman, have been a solid. They have been put up against top lines just as often as the McDonagh/Girardi pairing and met the challenge.
Thursday in Colorado, Staal led all Ranger defenseman with 28:04 and played very well defensively. Heading into the playoffs, the Rangers are in a very good spot. With the return of McDonagh being close to the start of the playoffs, the Rangers defense just got dangerous.
Reason to Worry?
No there isn’t and why should there be? With the news of McDonagh’s injury turning out to be not as serious as initially reported, Ranger fans worry of the what if, doesn’t have to be a long winded discussion. The Rangers have four games, and if what McDonagh’s hopes come true, we could see him return in time for one of the final two games.
And then the fun begins: The Stanley Cup playoffs!