Blues 5 - Rangers 3: Points Per Game

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Rangers Three Stars

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JIM: I know Ryan Callahan scored twice and played a solid 20 minutes of hockey Saturday night, but my No. 1 Star is definitely Brad Richards because he was a force all night, and in my opinion the best Rangers right from the first drop of the puck. Richards logged nearly 24 minutes of ice time---often double-shifting on the fourth line with only 11 forwards dressed---and was hard on the puck, creative when he had it, and finished with a goal and an assist to go along with a game-high eight shots on goal. He is just oozing confidence on the ice, and again reinstating himself as a very important voice in the locker room because his game is back to a level we all expect. As Richards said last night, "I feel like me". Callahan, though, was right behind Richards, and is my No. 2 Star. The Rangers captain went to the hard areas of the net, right in front of Blues goalie Jaroslav Halak time and again, on the team's five power play chances and came away with two power play goals as a reward. He wasn't quite as visible at even strength as Richards, so he lands in my No. 2 Star slot. My Third Star goes to Derick Brassard, who notched a pair of assists, had two shots on goal, and finished with an Even plus/minus mark. Brassard skated strong all night, was creative in setting up his teammates, and finally chose to shoot the puck himself---something he has not done much early on this season---and the rebound of that spiinning, hard shot led to Richards' goal. Derek Stepan also had a pair of assists, but I liked Brassard's game just a bit more.

1. Brad Richards

2. Ryan Callahan

3. Derick Brassard

MATT: It's hard for me to argue, so I won't. Through five games, Brad Richards has been the team's best player. With a difficult season last year and a summer surrounded by unknowns, Richards has come back to the Rangers as is backing up his words during the offseason that he still has a lot to offer. He's playing with a confidence that he didn't have throughout last season, and is becoming the player the fans want to have on the ice in all situations. No. 2 also has to be Ryan Callahan, who is still working his way back to being the best player he can be following surgery and missing camp and preseason. For a guy who isn't the biggest around, Callahan is willing to bang bodies around the crease on the power play, and it paid off last night with two goals with the man advantage. The Rangers need scoring throughout the lineup, and Callahan provided that last night. My third star is a bit off the board, but I'll give it to the Rangers power play, which went 2-for-5 and has arguably been the team's most productive part of the game so far this year. The Blueshirts cycled the puck, put shots on net and applied pressure in the blue paint. The Rangers have the 11th-best power play unit in the NHL at 23.5 percent, and that's been without anyone — aside from Richards — playing at their best and without Rick Nash for nearly the last three games.

1. Brad Richards

2. Ryan Callahan

3. Rangers Power Play