The usually offensive-heavy London Knights actually relied on team defence to take the western conference quarter-final opener 3-1 Friday at the Bud Gardens.
And with it, the Knights own a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
1. Jake Paterson. I feel as though I've typed his name a lot in this feature over the season. But he was on his game Friday. Just take a moment and give the photo above a nice look. That was Paterson flopping his arm behind his head to stop a puck from going in the net. London came out swinging and was backed by a loud home crowd yet the Rangers made it through the first period in hostile territory down only by a pair. It could have been a lot worse without Paterson.
2. Discipline. I don't think the Rangers took a bad penalty all game. And they were getting chirped big time by the Knights. That's a huge positive going forward. London was really trying to get a rise out of Max Iafrate and he didn't bite.
3. A good loss. OK, there is no such thing. But you kind of left the Gardens feeling like the Rangers are going to be just fine in this series. Paterson had to make some sensational saves. London goalie Tyler Parsons was busy but not spectacular. Kitchener just didn't get enough quality shots on him. The visitors also played a strong final two periods and didn't fold after falling behind - which they have done in the past. I guess what I'm trying to say is that the Rangers weren't severely outplayed and are very much still in this series.
1. Top line. It wasn't horrible but the line of Ryan MacInnis, Brandon Robinson and David Miller took a while to get going. It has to be a factor or the Rangers have no chance.
2. Mark Marner. The entire team has to do a better job of taking Mitchell Marner out of the game. He had two goals, hit a post and had some clear lanes to the net.
3. Physical play. It was missing early on in Friday's affair. London threw everything they had at the Rangers and it paid off. Kitchener didn't finish as many checks or battle as hard. It's in the lads. We've seen it before. It just has to come out for the entire game.