During his pre-game press conference, the only answer John Tortorella could come up with was he had “no idea.” One even asked if the coach knew when his mother’s birthday was. However, after tonight’s win it seems Tortorella had the answers all along as the New York Rangers skated pasted the Montreal Canadiens 5-3 for head coach’s 100th win with the Rangers.
The game would get off to a gritty start as Ryan Callahan took offense to a clean hit delivered to Brandon Dubinsky, leading to several altercations. When the dust settled, the Rangers were given a 5-on-3 power play but lost defenseman Michael Sauer to a game misconduct. Erik Christensen would get the Rangers on the board, converting a brilliant goalmouth feed from Derek Stepan.
From that point on, the Rangers would play with only five defenseman but held the Canadiens in check. Along with Callahan, Brad Richards, Dan Girardi, and Michael Del Zotto were the other Rangers goal scorers. Max Pacioretty, Andrei Kostitsyn, and Brian Gionta were the Canadiens’ goal scorers.
Join me after the jump for the full post-game report.
- We are witnessing the maturation of Derek Stepan in front of our eyes. Two more assists tonight on two brilliant passes. The kid is touted for his vision and it was on display tonight.
- Stepping up with Sauer gone for a game misconduct, Michael Del Zotto had his best game of the season. It’s been incremental progress with DZ, but every game he’s been better. 27:26 TOI and a nifty goal tonight showed us 2009-2010 Del Zotto might just be back for good.
- Seeing Artem Anisimov moved up to play along side Marian Gaborik and Derek Stepan, I hoped he would seize his opportunity seeing as he was dwelling in the bottom 6 for a few games. Two assists and a 1st star recognition is a step in the right direction.
- We saw what type of captain Ryan Callahan is tonight. I have no issue with him going after Mike Blunden for hitting Dubinsky despite it being clean. That’s the camaraderie you want between your players.
- 1-9 on the power play is putrid at best. Credit the Montreal penalty killers for standing up at the blue line and being aggressive but the Rangers’ attackers have to adjust and they failed to do so.
- Dan Girardi keeps chugging along. Over 30 minutes tonight, three blocked shots and a goal. In my mind, the most important Ranger not named Lundqvist.
- Sean Avery was a non-factor in this game. Expect this to be the way it is while he’s up here as Torts probably has him on an even tighter leash.
- Erik Christensen as strung together a couple good efforts in a row (four points in three games), adding offense to the team. Could it be he feels Avery breathing down his neck? Whatever the case, if he keeps scoring no one will care what motivates him.
- Brad Richards came up golden scoring to put the Rangers head 4-2 right after Erik Cole nearly tied the game prior to by hitting the post. Turning point there because if Cole scores its a different game.
- Brandon Dubinsky’s fortunes have to/will change at some point. Came close to scoring a few times tonight. He’s doing everything possible.
- He hasn’t played a ton but in the time he’s been out there, I like what I’ve seen from Andre Deveaux. He keeps it simple and makes the little plays. His hard work directly lead to Richards’ goal.
Make sure to check out A Winning Habit for their thoughts on tonight’s game.
Next Game: Right back at it tomorrow 7:00PM against the Winnipeg Jets
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