JIM: Ahhh, you were wondering why I did not mention Cam Talbot in the list of possible Three Stars! Well, with so much of the focus on the Rangers rallying again in the third period to grab a road win, it seemed to me that Talbot was a bit of the Unsung Hero. For if not for Talbot's solid goaltending the Rangers would not have been in position to rally and win. Talbot finished with 22 saves, as he put forth another very calm and efficent performance between the pipes. There were a couple too many rebounds laid out in the slot, but the goals he surrendered were hardly his fault---a Cal Clutterbuck blast off a 2-on-1, and a puck that caromed off Dan Girardi's chest and into the net.
Talbot has not made The Big Mistake to hurt his team in any of his three starts so far, and is giving the Rangers a chance to win every time he's in there for Henrik Lundqvist. He was not overwhelmed in his first NHL start, was not undone by playing in Joe Louis Arena, and certainly was not adversely affected by his first taste of the Rangers-Islanders rivalry. His performance in Tuesday's victory can not be overlooked.
MATT: My unsung hero was Carl Hagelin, who gave the Rangers a boost in his return. If nothing more, it just felt like a positive step to have a guy like him back in the lineup after this team has been given blow after blow in regards to injuries. He had a strong night, picking up the assist on Benoit Pouliot's game-winning goal, and was his normal, speedy self. Aside from that quickness, Hagelin is so strong along the boards, and I don't think it was a coincidence that last night was one of the best forechecking efforts the Rangers have had all season.
Hagelin is also one of the team's top penalty killers, and without a strong kill last night against the No. 2 ranked power play unit in the NHL, this could have been a different story. Sure he took two penalties, but the positives far outweighed the negatives, and it's good to have Hags back out there.