Some thoughts as the alway-productive week leading up to Christmas gets underway:
*500 wins for John Tortorella. Yes, he’s a good coach.
*Why its working in Columbus – Tortorella’s message gets through to young guys. It worked in Tampa Bay, worked in New York (Rangers were a fairly young team), and it’s working now in Columbus. He walked into a veteran room in Vancouver and it was a disaster.
*With that said, his message will eventually get tuned out, as has been the case every place he’s been.
*Oh, and that’s nine in a row for the Blue Jackets for those keeping score at home.
*While they were my preseason pick to come out of the East, there was a part of me that wasn’t entirely sold on the Rangers early on when they were scoring at a rate similar to 1980s/90s powerhouses. The best at putting the puck in the net while being among the worst at actually getting pucks to the net was a bad combination; something not dissimilar to last year’s quick start off the hop for the Blueshirts that fizzled out quick.
Well, what do you know, 14 goals in the last seven games for New York, and the Rangers are 6-1. Yes, they’ve expectedly regressed back to earth, but this is a strong 200-foot team that’s been getting great goaltending. Antti Raanta is bringing competition for Henrik Lundqvist that’s never unhealthy.
*One other Rangers note – Mats Zuccarello had five goals in his first 10 games this year. He has three in 23 games since.
*Go ahead and put Rickard Rakell on list of kids more than worth the price of admission.
*Four goals allowed on 27 shots will never be a performance worthy of leading a goaltending clinic, but make no mistake that Scott Darling was one of the Blackhawks best players in Saturday’s 6-4 win over the Blues. Great goaltending is seen in high-scoring shootouts as often as the 2-1 games of goalie.
*Bobby Ryan has goals in three straight games. That’s just the third time he’s strung together such a streak in a Senators uniform.
*Three-point night for Patrik Laine in the Jets 4-1 win over Colorado on Sunday. That’s his third three-point game and now has 29, which leads all rookies.
Game to Watch Monday Night
Anaheim at Toronto: Frederik Andersen gets a look at his former team.