UPDATE: More on last night's game in Montreal at BB+ -- click here to read it and see today's links.
Last night may have been the most complete game the Rangers have played since the hiring of John Tortorella. Aside from the power play, the Rangers had a tremendous amount of shots (42 to Montreal's 29) and solid offensive zone puck possession in the 4-3 shootout victory against the Canadiens.
All the lines contributed and their play exhibited that they are finally understanding Tortorella's system.
Ryan Callahan, Brandon Dubinsky, the "Nik's," and Freddy Sjostrom all had stand out efforts for the forwards. Their work along the boards was punishing and they helped establish a fierce forecheck for much of the game.
On defense, the group had a solid effort overall. Derek Morris continues to impress while Wade Redden has benefited from having the ability to jump into the play. Dan Girardi and Marc Staal continue to be dominant in their own zone, the first young defensive pairing on the Rangers to do so since...Brian Leetch and Jeff Beukeboom?
All in all, the Rangers deserved two points in regulation, but will take them in a shootout.
One note that will stand out, however, was the play of Henrik Lundqvist. "The King" has been the main reason the Rangers are still in the playoff hunt this season, but last night with a mere few minutes left in the third period, Lundqvist looked more like a Prince than a King.
Nobody can question the outstanding acrobatic saves he made early on or the stellar support he provided on the penalty kill. However, in a critical game late in the third period, he blinked and allowed a flukey goal that ultimately could have cost the Rangers the game (especially given Scott Gomez's awful late penalty).
The shootout was not much better, as he allowed two goals on three shots. This begs the old Marty Brodeur question: Is Lundqvist only as good as the system?
Of course, the goalie is going to benefit from a defensive system, but since Tortorella's hiring, Lundqvist's goals against has risen and without a tremendous amount of shots against.
Is Lundqvist cracking under pressure or is he simply adapting like the rest of the team?
Most would argue that it is an adjustment for him as much as any player. Others could look to last night's faux pas and say that the pressure is getting to him.
Regardless, Lundqvist's mettle is going to be tested down the stretch and it will be intriguing to see how he handles it.
On a positive note, the Rangers were able to bail Henrik out, as he has done for them much of this season.
The Rangers are off until Saturday when they face the Buffalo Sabres at home followed by another Sunday game at MSG against Ottawa.
More this afternoon...