Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault put this past week of hockey into perspective following Monday night's win over the San Jose Sharks.
While this season may not yet be two weeks ago, Vigneault said this points and performances are still crucial for a team with postseason aspirations.
"As we all know, it's very difficult to get into the playoffs, and points in October are as important as points in April," Vigneault said after the Rangers' 4-0 victory over San Jose at Madison Square Garden. "The compete level and urgency has to be there. Especially in such a competitive league where every team — in my estimation — is a good team and every team gets great goaltending."
The urgency was certainly on display Monday night, as the Rangers were physical, forechecked well and got timely scoring that was missing over the last three games, all losses.
New York was able to get four goals passed Sharks netminder Martin Jones, who entered the game 4-0 allowing just two goals on 110 shots he'd faced up until that point.
"There's more urgency in our game tonight," said Derick Brassard, who before the game said more of that was needed. He delivered with an assist and a plus-2 rating in 16:04 of ice time. "[We received a lot] from our top players. They led the way for our team and that's what we need every night."
The top players did bring it Monday, with Mats Zuccarello and Marc Staal finding the back of the net, while Rick Nash, Keith Yandle and Dan Boyle each picked up helpers.
The Rangers limited the Sharks to just 22 shots and gave San Jose just one power play all night.
"It was our all around defensive game," said Nash, who had several scoring chances and hit the post in the third period. "We have to help our goalies out more than we have the first couple games. I think we're finally understanding that all our offensive chances come from good defense."
While the Rangers were certainly pleased to open the season with three wins against the Blackhawks and Blue Jackets, the Rangers followed it up with three straight losses. The Rangers are hoping Monday's win is the catalyst to getting back to the style that's worked so well for the Blueshirts over the last two years.
"We weren't — everyone in the room knows the level we were playing at isn't acceptable," said Staal, who in addition to his goal picked up career assist No. 100. "It's something we want to take care of. We're playing a good team in San Jose coming in here. It was a good test of us. We had a good effort. It's more the way we want to play and we have to keep doing it consistently."