JIM: There's so much talk about new systems and the Rangers making adjustments to their style of play, but the team showed Wednesday night that at their very core they can grind it out and wear down a quality opponent. In a "throwback" performance Wednesday, the Rangers outhit Washington 35-21 and blocked 22 shots en-route to their 2-0 victory. Ryan Callahan had five hits. Dan Girardi had four blocks, as did Anton Stralman. These are numbers Rangers fans have grown accustomed to with these players the past few years, and just because there is a new coach and a bit different style of play doesn't mean the core players completely change their nature. Throw Ryan McDonagh into that mix, too, because he was a beast last night. As McDonagh told me after the game "it was more the identity we are familair with" in how the team played. It was a hybrid of the old and the new---swarming the puck at every turn, outmanning the Caps on loose pucks---and it looked pretty darn good last night.
MATT: The Rangers' officially began their tenure in the newly created Metropolitan Division, and it could not have started much better. I've been a big proponent of the re-alignment, namely for the addition of the Capitals, which could be argued has been the Rangers' biggest rival since 2009. The fact that these two teams have met four times in the playoffs since then, and now call the same division home will only intensify these already red-hot rivalry. These are two squads that know each other very well and, let's be honest, don't like each other very much. These types of matchups deserve to be intra-division, so thumbs up to the NHL for making that happen.