The real story of the game, and perhaps the season, was Gaborik. He was dominant through two and a half periods, scoring twice and adding an assist. The line of Gaborik-Prospal-Lisin was firing on all cylinders, creating scoring chances and goals (including a rocket by Lisin and a multi-pass beauty by Gabby). BUT, Gaborik left late in the third with an obvious leg injury. There is no news yet on the severity. Gaborik claims it is not related to either his hip or groin — let us hope. While the team is greatly improved skillwise from last season, should Gaborik be out for any extended period of time, we are hosed. I am not a religious man, but let us all pray.
Generally, it was a very solid bounce back win against a surprisingly decent and hard-working Coyotes team. The Rangers returned to clearing pucks from around their own net, crashing the opponent’s net, back-checking, and playing with a tempo. Dubinsky and Higgins responded well after their benchings. And the D was excellent, especially Del Zotto (two assists) and Staal (who drove to the net with authority and was strong in his own end).
Random other game notes: Nice to see Prucha back in the Garden, and playing…Lisin’s goal was against the team that traded him. I was initially against the trade because Korpikoski had some offensive flair and was excellent on the pk, but I’m coming around…Anisimov scored on a turn-around slapper that required some imagination…Brashear was back in the lineup. He’s looked slower than usual this year, but has been more effective than Orr was, as much as it pains me to say…Though he played well, Girardi was a -1, continuing his stretch of minus play despite actually playing fairly well…Drury continues to be quiet…The Rangers gave up a horrible short-handed goal the direct result of Lundqvist mishandling the puck trying to make a play — He should NEVER handle the puck, ever.