The Rangers defeated the Ottawa Senators 3-2 in Ottawa tonight, and improved their winning streak to five games. Tonight was the worst game the team has played in those five, but that’s not something to be unhappy about by any means. This was not a win where the other team handed it to us, or we needed our goaltender to save the day. We simply needed to dig a little deeper than we’ve had to.
Ottawa’s Milan Michalek scored the first goal of the game, but strangely that goal seemed to spark the Rangers; not the Senators. The Rangers scored twice in the following few minutes and never lost the lead from there. Realistically, no team is going to play perfectly every single game, so there’s not too much to be disappointed about tonight. Let’s look at the game notes.
Henrik Lundqvist- Lundqvist was not at his best during the Rangers’ homestand, though he hardly reached Luongo levels of falling apart. Nonetheless, it was nice to see him back at the top of his game tonight. Two goals were put past him, but neither were his fault. He stopped multiple odd man rushes and did not let the Rangers fall behind when they were being outshot in the first period. Lundqvist did not will the team to victory by himself like he’s needed to in the past, but 29 saves on 31 shots is nothing insignificant. Great effort in net by Henrik.
Marian Gaborik- Earlier in the season I credited Gaborik’s turnaround from last season to him not only having better linemates but him trusting his linemates to help him and not trying to do everything himself. This definitely still held true tonight, with Anisimov and Stepan contributing to his production. However, I noticed something new tonight, and that was his demeanor. Watch both of his goals again tonight, and he was very composed putting the puck into the net. Last season it seemed like every time the puck was on his stick in the offensive zone he became anxious and gripped the stick tightly. Tonight, he was very relaxed, took enough time to settle the puck, and put it into the opening in the net. This has been true for many of his goals this season.
Artem Anisimov- Totally invisible to start the season, but the complete opposite of that now. Six assists in his last three games, and his defensive game is as good as ever. All parts of his game are improved from last season, but his forechecking specifically has been great to watch this season. Never really saw too much of that in the past. What was great about tonight was that Anisimov caused three goals in three completely different ways. The first was his forechecking that turned the puck over and let Stepan and Gaborik connect. The second being him driving to the net with the puck and creating a rebound for Stepan. And the third being his persistent efforts in the defensive zone that resulted in him gaining possession of the puck and feeding Gaborik up the ice.
Steve Eminger- I’ve been defending Eminger when he’s received criticism. I don’t think he’s been nearly as bad as some people seem to think he has been. However, tonight he was simply brutal. Multiple defenses lapses and a stupid penalty. Emiger received the least amount of playing time for any Rangers defenseman; Woywitka included. Need better from the most experienced defenseman we have on the team.
Well done by Andre Deveaux in his fight against Jared Cowen. Not only did he take a solid player off the ice for the Senators, but he destroyed him in the process. Rangers return to Madison Square Garden on Friday and will look to extend the streak six. Make sure to check out Senshot for comments on the game from the Ottawa perspective. The Senators might not be very good, but Senshot is superb.