It was hardly pretty. It was hardly easy. The Rangers had multiple opportunities to put the game away but kept finding ways to keep Los Angeles in it. Then again, these are the New York Rangers. Would you expect it to be any different? The Rangers started the game off typically. Dubinsky took an offensive zone penalty, Los Angeles scored an early goal as a result, and the Rangers spent the rest of the first period completely unable to gain possession of the puck in the Los Angeles end. They looked completely different in the 2nd period, however. After Sean Avery had words with multiple Los Angeles players, the MSG cameras showed him screaming at the bench to “wake up.” The very next face-off Callahan scored. The Rangers eventually took the lead and proceeded to lose on two separate occasions in the third period. With that, the Rangers move 6 points ahead of Buffalo, who is in 9th place in the Eastern Conference. Lets look at the game summary:
Ryan Callahan- Continues to bring it every night, as expected. Callahan did an excellent job gaining position on the defenseman and put it in the net. He also assisted Dubinsky third period goal with his shot that Dubinsky collected and put in. The obvious lesson is that when you put the puck towards the net good things happen. Callahan understands this and this is why he is successful. He has no particularly great offensive skills, but he puts the puck towards the net and makes sure to get in the slot. With every game Callahan reminds of of Adam Graves. He now has 3 goals and 2 assists in his last 5 games.
Marian Gaborik- Where are the people demanding he be traded now? Gaborik has 1 goal and 4 assists in his last four games. His shot was not his hardest but he gained the zone with speed and took the shot once he saw the opening, which is something he’s been reluctant to do this season for whatever reason. Gaborik’s goal was similar to many he scored last year. I foreshadowed the goal in the pre-game and he delivered. With that he snaps his goal-less streak.
Henrik Lundqvist- The third Los Angeles goal was nothing short of awful, with yet another goal being scored from behind the goal line. Aside from that, Lundqvist made several key saves throughout the game and was good enough in the shootout to lead the Rangers to victory and achieve the 200th win of his NHL career. It will be interesting to see if he gets the start tomorrow against the Devils.
Power Play- Looks like the game against Pittsburgh was no sign of things to come. The Rangers’ power play was once again terrible tonight. The most notable fail was failing to convert on the gift of a double-minor Alex Ponikarovsky gave after his high stick on Marc Staal for absolutely no reason as time expired in the third period. The Rangers worked in multiple units the past few days specifically on 4-on-3 powerplays. Whatever the coaching staff had them do clearly didn’t work. The Rangers look stagnant and failed to take any real high-percentage shots before Dubinsky took a high sticking penalty halfway through. The Rangers really need to add an offensive defenseman. Are you awake Sather…Sather? Bueller?
-Ryan McDonagh played over 22 minutes while Sauer almost reached 20 himself. Good for both of them for earning their spots in the lineup and Tortorella’s trust. At the same time, though, that situation is far from ideal as good as they’ve been you do not want to have to rely on them so much in the playoffs. Yet another reason for Sather to make a move.
-With the win Lundqvist ties John Vanbiesbrouck on the all-time wins list for Rangers goalies. He is four away from tying Gump Worsley for third all-time.
-The Rangers won 34/54 face-offs. Very nice to see that, especially against Los Angeles, who is a good face-off team.
-Mats Zuccarello is now 6-for-7 in the shootout and is tied for second in the NHL in shootout goals. He also got his third game winner. First place is Stoll, who also scored in the shootout tonight. He has two more goals in the shootout but has also had five more attempts.
Tortorella said in the post-game press conference that the Rangers “showed balls” tonight. Yet again, the Rangers played a flawed game, but they stayed competitive and “found a way to win.” The Rangers need to find a way to get into the playoffs. Tonight helped that cause, regardless of how many heart attacks Rangers fans endured because of it.