Coming into tonight’s contest, the New York Rangers were ranked 30th on the power play, good for dead last in the NHL going just 1-23 through the first seven games. After scoring two power play goals against the Winnipeg Jets, look for those numbers to go up.
Ruslan Fedotenko opened the scoring for the Rangers with a deflection goal in the 2nd period off a Dan Girardi pass. The lead would only last for nearly ten minutes as former Ranger Nikolai Antropov would score off a turnover to give the Jets their first goal of the game. At times during the third period, Winnipeg dominated play and kept applying pressure to the Rangers, who never faltered. After drawing a power play, it would be the captain Ryan Callahan that scored the eventual game-winning goal for his team to complete a 3-2-2 opening 7 game road trip, including a 3-1 ride through Canada.
Join me after the jump for the complete post-game wrap.
- Subbing in for Henrik Lundqvist, backup Marty Biron had a stellar game his fellow netminder would appreciate. Biron made 27 saves and, at times, had to be the equalizer to keep his team in the contest.
- Not off to the start he hoped for, Ruslan Fedontenko had his best game of the season. Scoring a power-play goal and having a hand in the other, Feds has officially arrived this season.
- You finally saw what special teams can give you when they work. The Rangers scored both of their goals with the man advantage, including capitalizing on a power play right after the Jets dominated play for at least 2 minutes. Had they not scored there, it’s a different outcome.
- Aside from being a minutes-eater, Dan Girardi notched 2 assists for himself tonight. Easily the defensive leader with his partner Marc Staal still sidelined.
- Ryan Callahan has to feel good about himself tonight. He played more like what Rangers fans have become accustom to with a goals, blocking shots, and being all over the ice.
- Brandon Dubinsky, on the other hand, still has some kinks to work out. How about this for a stat: the Rangers took just one penalty the entire game.
- Despite getting the victory, the Rangers only generated 17 shots. It’s less the opposition shutting them down and more so an issue of them being too unselfish. Both Ranger goals tonight were a result of putting it towards the net and witnessing good things happen. Hopefully, the message sinks in.
- Another message that needs to sink in more: when you do elect to shoot, make sure it lands on net.
- Marian Gaborik has been the best forward through the first seven games. Yet saw minimal shifts during the third period. Not sure what the issue was.
- Wojtek Wolski subbed in for Erik Christensen and looked decent at times. Comparing that to what Christensen has given the Rangers thus far, Wolski looked like Gordie Howe out there.
- The mad scientist approach to the offensive lines by Torts isn’t the most popular thing to do. However, the Rangers barely generated anything 5-on-5 in this game and something had to be done. It’s still early enough in the season where you can get away with line juggling and, to the coach’s credit, not one particular line has stood out long enough for them to warrant staying together. It becomes a problem when game 64 comes around and the same line shuffling happens.
There’s one last point to be made and its addressed to you, the readers of Blue Line and die-hard fans. Everyone has been up in arms with how slowly the team has started, how certain players have under performed, how horrific the power play has been etc. It’s only magnified because it’s the beginning of the season. So what normally are considered slumps evolve into fits of sheer panic. But even with the offense still without synergy, the power play searching for an identity, and Brandon Dubinsky goal-less, your team found a way to endure a hellish seven-game road trip to earn 8 of 14 points, including 6 of 8 in Canada. That’s the mark of character in a good team by finding ways to win, not evidence to lose your minds. Remember, it’s not how you start; it’s how you finish.
Make sure to head over to Hockey At The Forks for their thoughts on tonight’s game.
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