The Blueshirts are scoring, and scoring at will. October had its share of drama and ups and downs for the Rangers. It hasn’t exactly gone the way we were hoping for, but at the same time, we’re not completely dissappointed.
The Rangers average 3.33333333333 (you get it) goals per game in their first 11 games. Now the Broadway Blue usually start the season very well (41 goals in their first 11 last season), but there’s a HUGE difference between this season and every other beginning: None of our “Big Players” are active. Specifically, no Gaborik. At this point last season, Gabby had 8 goals and only went 1 of the first 11 games without registering a point. In fact, for most of the season, if Marian didn’t score or get an assist, we probably didn’t score and more than likely didn’t win.
This year, complete 180. There’s $15 million injured and not playing and yet, we’re still 2nd in the division (partly in thanks to the Devil’s being the worst team ever) with a 6-4-1 record. That’s with Gaborik not scoring even one goal, nor even playing 3 full games… yet. How is this happening, you may ask?
Easy, three simple words: Callahan, Dubinsky, & Avery.
That line has been remarkable and has literally carried this team to the back of the net. All of them are on their way to a career year.
Dubs has 7 goals and 11 points already, with a shooting percentage of 25.9%. Ridiculous.
Cally has 13 points and has been everywhere with 42 hits and 20 blocked shots already! Insane.
Avery isn’t being Avery, but his outstanding passing and remarkable play has not made you miss his “douche-ness”. After conquering Pandora last season, he’s bringing his A game to the ice this season. Avatar.
I’ve been wanting Callahan and Dubs on the same line since they first came up and never understood why they never were. Well now here they are and they sure are presenting themselves as the future of this team. They almost make you go “Marian who?”. I said almost.
I’d like to say our defense has really stepped it up, but I can’t. As per usual, the Rangers are being outshot 60% of the games. At the same time, they’re juggernauts on the ice blocking everything in sight. Especially Dan Girardi. I hated this guy; thought he was no where’s close worth to the money Sather paid him, but luckily he’s been playing to his dollar amount. Girardi is leading the NHL in blocked shots. Technically he’s tied with Nick Boynton from Chicago, but Boynton’s played in 2 more games than Dan. Girardi has really stepped up his D and his O. He has a rare positive as a plus/minus (+6), which ties the team lead with MDZ, and already has a goal and 5 points in these first 11.
In fact, the Rangers are 3rd in the NHL in Hits and 2nd in Blocked Shots (to Chicago who’s played 4 more games). Last season the Rangers were still a big hitting team ending the year in 2nd place for hits, but blocks is something different. Ranked 11th last season, Tortorella’s cry for getting in the way of those shots has been heard finally. Yet, the defense has still allowed the 10th most amount of shots in the league. They’re still giving away too much time of possession and too many shots in the slot. The Blueshirts are good at blocking those shots from the point but we have trouble cleaning the garbage in front of the net. Didn’t they watch Mighty Ducks? They can all roller blade around the streets of Manhattan to a montage!
Ahhh, how could I forget Artem Anisimov. Don’t worry, I didn’t.
The Rangers’ only Russian (in the NHL) has been outstanding. He’s out to prove this is going to be his break out season. Anisimov already has 1/3 the total points he had all of last year in 82 games. Yeah, he’s been moved up from the 4th and 3rd lines he had last year to more of a 2nd line role, but boy is he filling it nicely. Torts is giving him more ice time and more chances and he’s taking advantage. His shooting percentage is currently the same as last season’s, but his 3 goals and 9 points show he’s ready to break out. Believe me, watch him this season.