Jan. 26, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers right wing Marian Gaborik (10) is named the first star of the game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Madison Square Garden. Rangers win 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

Rangers Breathe Sigh Of Relief

Phew…………….. That was an interesting week for the Blueshirts. The Rangers started 0-2 but won a big game in OT on Wednesday against the Bruins. Only to fall flat on their faces the next night in Philadelphia where the Flyers ended an 8 game losing streak against the Rangers dating back to the 2010-2011 season. The Rangers played the Maple Leafs at the Garden on Saturday night and fell behind 0-2 after dominating the first period of play. The Rangers tallied one goal in the second period from Brad Richards but still trailed by a goal until about 10 minutes left in the 3rd period. Everyone (including myself) was about to click the panic button if the Rangers lost last night to the Leafs at home. But it did not get to that point. The Ranger offense exploded late in the third period with four goals to finish the game and win a very important game by the score of 5-2. I would not have categorized the game on Saturday as a “must-win”. But to fall to 1-4 to begin the season would not have been good, especially in this very tough division. The most impressive thing about Saturday night’s game was probably the fact that the Rangers played a complete game for the first time this season. From the opening face-off, to the empty net goal the Rangers dominated the Leafs from start to finish. There were some promising things from this victory. The fact that many Rangers had their best game of the season. Staal, Del Zotto, Richards, and newly aquired Ferriero all played a big part in last night’s victory for the Blueshirts. They looked like they played with urgency for a full 60 minutes. They finally had some urgency and “jam” in their game for the first time this season, excluding the first period against Boston last Wednesday. Rick Nash is also the real deal with what he is able to create and how effective he is on the offensive attack. He can hit too. He will be so big for us this year and for years to come. But with the good things we saw on Saturday there are still things, a lot of things the Rangers need to do better. First, the defense needs to cover the front of the net and move guys out of Hank’s way. Both goals last night were mistakes that pee-wee hockey teams would make. Leaving players in front of the net un-touched cannot happen consistently from this defense and too many times this year they have left Lundqvist out to dry. Second, they need to continue to play with urgency. Saturday night was great. Now they need to make Saturday’s performance on a night to night basis. This is how they will get onto winning streaks and start to collect some points. The rest of the week is huge with two big games at home against the Flyers on Tuesday and the Penguins on Thursday. The Rangers lost to these teams earlier on this season and should be ready to pay them back.

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