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Rangers’ depth on display early in 2018 Winter Classic

2018 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic - New York Rangers v Buffalo Sabres

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 01: Paul Carey #28 of the New York Rangers celebrates his goal at 4:09 of the first period against Robin Lehner #40 of the Buffalo Sabres during the 2018 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Citi Field on January 1, 2018 in Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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Scoring depth has been an advantage for the New York Rangers during the last couple of seasons, and that’s something that surfaced during the first period of the 2018 Winter Classic against the Buffalo Sabres.

For one thing, Paul Carey continued to make more of a mark for this offense.

After scoring just one goal in 13 games between October and November, Carey was really starting to make more of an impact for the Rangers in December, scoring seven points in 13 games that month. He carried that momentum into the new year, making it 1-0 about four minutes into the contest:

The fancier highlight came on the 2-0 goal, as Kevin Hayes squeezed a pass into a small window by Robin Lehner to set up Michael Grabner, who’s already at 18 goals on the season:

The speedy Grabner is really on a “Cy Young” pace so far: as of this writing, he has 18 goals versus three assists (18-3, if you will). While Grabner now has more goals (149) than assists (85) in his career, this season is putting that imbalance to an extreme.

Either way, depth continues to be a factor in the Rangers’ favor. They came into the 2018 Winter Classic with 14 players with 13+ points on the season, and Carey is one point away from being the 15th Ranger to hit double digits.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.