If you were to describe the 4th line for the New York Rangers, what would you say? Hard-working, gritty, tough as nails, or simply who are they? Outside of the Rangers fan base, I am sure nobody gives them a second look. But slowly, this line is beginning to gain recognition. They provide the team with a “never quit” attitude. Their contributions may not be pretty; but, they give us a reason to root for them. No longer is it a non-existent line of put-togethers. The players have built chemistry amongst each other and become stable enough for head coach Alain Vigneanult to keep together and roll out against teams.
The centerman on this line is Dominic Moore. This is his second stint with the Rangers’ organization. Slowly, he is growing in popularity among the Ranger faithful. At six feet tall and 188 lbs., Moore is at the center of the action. Heading into Tuesday’s game, Moore has registered four goals and eight assists through 48 games. Also, he is one of the team’s top faceoff men with a 55.18% rate. However, it is his most recent performances which have teams taking notice. His presence was felt during the two Stadium Series games last week. In Sunday’s game against the New Jersey Devils, he contributed with one goal and one assist. His goal did two things: one) he got the Rangers on the scoreboard after the Devils went 2-0 in the first period and two) he helped the Rangers gain a little momentum near the end of the first. Despite the Devils scoring another goal, his tally made a dent in Marty Brodeur’s armor, which eventually led to his benching in the 3rd period by Devils head coach, Pete DeBoer. Against the New York Islanders, Moore registered one assist. But, his one point contributed to the game-winning goal.
On the left wing, you will find Brian Boyle. The 6’7″, 244lb Boyle hails from Hingham, Massachussettes; 32 minutes south of Boston. A “gentle giant”, as some have called him over the years, is slowly becoming a force to be feared. Originally a centerman, Coach Alain Vigneault switched the big man to left-wing. Since that move, his performance on the ice has picked up. He is finally using his height and weight to his advantage. He gets to the dirty areas of the ice, mucks it up with the other team’s players, and makes things happen. His impact in the recent Stadium Series and the last game versus cross-town rivals New York Islanders was very noticable. In Friday’s game at Madison Square Garden, Boyle contributed with a goal in the first period. He screened goalie Evgeni Nabakov from a Marc Staal slap shot that was sure to go wide of the net. He opened the scoring and the “Garden Faithful” rejoiced. It’s plays like this that are making Boyle an asset to the Rangers’ arsenal. The only drawback to his play is his fighting. So far, Boyle has gone winless in his bouts on the ice, this year. Despite this, his offensive production has picked up, tallying four goals and nine assists through 56 games this year. He has more than doubled last year’s totals of two goals and three assists thru 38 games. Granted, it was a shortened-season due to the NHL lockout (Boooo!). His contributions are not limited to the fourth line, however. He may be seen on the top penalty kill unit, along with the speedy Carl Hagelin. Going back to his natural center position, Boyle has become part of the NHL’s top 10 penalty kill units, ranking seventh with an 83.7% rate. With Boyle’s faceoff percentage being more than 55.27% and willingness to block shots with 43, he is proving his worth as a versatile forward once more.
On the right wing, when healthy, was Derek Dorsett. Listed at five feet and eleven inches, weighing 188 pounds, Dorsett had become the final piece to this line. Originally from Kindersley, SK, Canada, he joined the Rangers last year in the Marian Gaborik trade with the Columbus Blue Jackets; which, in my opinion, was a great move by General Manager Glen Sather. Before he broke his fibula in the early part of January, Dorsett had three goals and two assists. Flashy, no. Effective, yes. Many described him as comparable to fan-favorite Sean Avery without the Sean Avery. Meaning, he didn’t bring a circus-like atmosphere to and from the rink. He didn’t purposely waive his stick in front of goalies, but planted himself in front to screen goalies and to clean up any mess left around the goal crease. He is a hard-nosed Ranger that just wants to play. Hopefully, once his injury has healed, we will again see why Dorsett earned his spot on the 4th line.
To aid in filling the role of Dorsett’s absence on the right-wing, the Rangers traded for rugged forward Daniel Carcillo. In a trade with the Los Angeles Kings for a seventh round draft pick, the Rangers added more grit and veteran presence to the team. Also, he brings playoff experience from his years with Philadelphia and Chicago (winning the Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks during the 2012-2013.) Originally drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2003, the Rangers are his fifth NHL team since 2005. Known for his penalty minutes and on-ice confrontations, Carcillo does have scoring touch. This says it all:
In short, the 4th line for the New York Rangers is becoming a threat of which other teams need to be cautious. These groups of players are making this line mean something. They are no longer known for only hard work and physical play, but they are able to contribute offensively. When the team needs a goal in a key moment, they have stepped up. Their role, however, is not to be the goal scores, that’s left to the other lines. But when needed, they have a knack of coming through when you least expect it.