The average NHL team would be pretty happy to get a point on the road while missing its captain and best offensive defenseman. But the New York Rangers are no average team. The Rangers were awful in the first period but found a way to go into the locker room with a 1-0 lead and thanks to powerplay held a 2-0 lead in the 2nd period. But after that the wheels came off. The Rangers did well to get a point out of the game but overall it’s not an effort John Tortorella should be happy with.
Nonetheless, let’s also be realistic. The team was missing Callahan and Del Zotto, two of the team’s most important players, and Tortorella implied after the game that the team as a whole (calling out Girardi specifically) is incredibly banged up. All things considered, three points in back-to-back road games is not the worst thing in the world. Let’s look at some game notes.
Henrik Lundqvist- Four goals against doesn’t do him justice. The Rangers were outshot in the first period 13-3 and without an exceptional period from him they probably go into the locker room down a few goals. He had to face 31 shots against one of the most lethal offenses in the NHL and made some exceptional saves all game long. Knowing Henrik he’ll probably be spending the rest of his birthday pissed off at his performance but in truth he did just about everything he could tonight.
Brandon Dubinsky- Give the guy credit. He bounced back from an absolutely brutal game in Carolina, accepted his spot on the 4th line tonight and the responsibility to prove to John Tortorella that he wants to be a difference maker. He did an excellent job of keeping control of the puck while on the fourth line and he scored a crucial goal late in the game to tie it up. The question becomes whether Dubinsky can keep this up, but for tonight at least we saw a much better Brandon Dubinsky.
Marc Staal- I thought he had a strong game tonight, but what is of note to me is that Staal led the team in ice-time; not Girardi. Not McDonagh. Now, part of this is likely because of Girardi and McDonagh being banged up, but if Marc Staal is comfortable playing 27:39 and John Tortorella is comfortable putting him out there for that much time then it indicates to me that Staal is basically at 100%. And his play reflects that.
Other than that there isn’t much to say. Gaborik had another solid game and Artie made a great shot on his goal, but the team just wasn’t good tonight. Still, we need to keep in perspective that this team is banged up and missing players and that the Lightning are probably a better team than their record indicates. Not a game Tortorella is going to be happy about but not one that he’s going to worry about, either. Ultimately, the Rangers got three out of four points in their Southern road-trip and now will focus on facing the Boston Bruins on Sunday.