Duke Nukem phrases aside, John Tortorella & his Blueshirts should use the anthem created by late ACDC great Bon Scott. He once proclaimed that he had “Big Balls” and so do your New York Rangers. Down 3-0 and on the verge of being run out of their own building, the Rangers dug very deep and found a way to slay the Boston Bruins in a 5-goal onslaught, scoring 3 goals in the last 4 minutes of the 3rd period.
It started out abysmally for New York, as Daniel Paille and Nathan Horton scored back-to-back rebound goals in the first period to jump out quickly to a 2-0 lead. Chris Kelly would finish off a rush in during the 2nd period and converted to give Boston a commanding 3-0 lead. Vinny Prospal had something to say about that, scoring 2 goals of his own to lead the Rangers comeback. It would be the “Duballahanisimov” line, so crucial to the Rangers’ success all season long, coming up with the tying goal as Ryan Callahan found Brandon Dubinsky all alone in front of Tim Thomas. Seconds later, Michael Sauer converted a nifty feed from Marian Gaborik to give the Rangers the 4-3 lead. Derek Stepan would finish it off with an empty net goal.
Let’s take a look back at tonight’s game and see how it all went down…
The testicular fortitude of the New York Rangers is immense. I’m not making it up. John Tortorella has mentioned it at different times of the season how the Rangers have it. The Rangers knew what was at stake. The fact that they were able to withstand the adversity and find a way to come back speaks VOLUMES about the team. They aren’t the flashiest, most skilled, or breathtaking to watch. But they play a brand of hockey that is tough-as-nails , relentless and easy to identify with. Games like this make the Rangers a potential nightmare in the playoffs.
How about Vinny Prospal? After all the adversity he’s experienced this year dealing with a knee injury and his spot in the lineup questioned, Prospal took it upon himself to will the Rangers back in this game. He seemed to be rejuvenated playing with Derek Stepan and Wojtek Wolski as Tortorella played musical chairs with the lines midway through the game. Say what you will about Vinny Prospal, his youthful exuberance is infectious and his verteran leadership on and off the ice will be neccessary on a young team in the playoffs.
Not enough can be said about the Callahan-Dubinsky-Anisimov line. The 2 preceding games saw them collectively and individually have sup-par efforts. It’s no surprise that when they play with an edge the Rangers play better. The play Callahan made before the Dubinsky goal with his patented spinning, backhand pass to find Dubinsky all alone in front of the Bruins’ net was big.
Henrik Lundqvist cannot be faulted for the goals given up. As is the norm with him, he kept the Rangers afloat and when the comeback started, Hank nailed down the fort and kept the Bruins off the scoresheet. He out-dueled his counterpart Tim Thomas and his name should be in serious consideration for the Vezina this season. Without Lundqvist, the Rangers are nowhere this season.
Huge props to the Garden crowd for bringing the noise throughout most of the game. Madison Square Garden should be a tough place to play for any opponent and it starts with the fans. Crowd noise can be intimidating. A+ effort on the fans’ part tonight.
The Rangers power play continues to be extremely maddening. They are on a 1-for-23 streak and look nothing like the power play unit that was operating at a 24% clip. You can argue its the personnel, its the strategy, its the mindset etc. What you would like to see is the same consistent effort the Rangers show on defense on the power play as well. I never understood why they could play so hard on the penalty kill but then coast around on the power play.
Ryan McDonagh may have hit the skids here. He let his man go right by him in the crease on the Paille goal, Tortorella split him and Sauer up during the game, and finished with a minus 3. McDonagh has been a revelation in his rookie season but the grind of the NHL may be wearing on him. The Rangers will need him to right himself sooner rather than later.
It’s great the Rangers were able to find a way to win and he did have a hand in the go-ahead goal, but Marian Gaborik was invisible the rest of the game. I’m tired of Gaborik’s benchmark being whether or not he was moving his legs in a game. He’s an elite talent in the NHL when he wants to be and has a deadly shot. It’s time to stop coddling him and time to let him loose. You need game-changing talent in order to swing hockey games in your favor.
There was a lot to be happy with in the end result but this was truly a tale of 2 games. The Rangers looked like no-shows through the first 35 minutesof the game. The Blueshirts could only muster 8 shots and the effort was similar to the Islanders game. I applaud them for a miraculous comeback but their initial effort in the game must be condemned.
Where They Stand:
3 points is the magic number to clinch. The Rangers (43-32-5 91 pts) now sit in a tie for 6th place with Montreal (42-30-7 91 pts), 1 point up on the Buffalo Sabres (40-29-10 90 pts). If the 9th place Carolina Hurricanes (38-30-11 87 pts) lose to the Detroit Red Wings in their next matchup, the Rangers can clinch a playoff berth on Thursday against the Atlanta Thrashers.
Make sure you check out CauseWay Crowd here on FanSided for the Bruins’ side of the story from this game.