By: Gene Morris
The crazy road trip to begin the season continued for the Rangers as they found themselves in Vancouver Tuesday night to face the defending Western Conference champion Canucks. Vancouver was also welcoming back center Ryan Kesler from injury, a key component to their power play and one of the best two-way forwards in the league. Although Vancouver’s play had been uneven early in the season, the game still looked daunting to a Ranger team in search of its first win.
Although the final score was 4-0, make no mistake that the Rangers were a one man show in Vancouver. Behind a spectacular 40 save shutout from Henrik Lundqvist and a late offensive explosion, the Rangers finally broke into the win column.
- Henrik Lundqvist was the first, second and third star of this game. He got virtually no help throughout and was forced to make a ton of saves, many of them from point blank range in tight. It was the first shutout of the season for Lundqvist, who led the NHL with 11 last year.
- Despite the spectacular play of Lundqvist the Rangers nearly did themselves in with penalties, once again. The Rangers gave the high powered Canucks power play eight opportunities and were fortunate to get away unscathed. Brandon Prust in particular found himself in coach John Tortorella’s dog house with two offensive zone penalties.
- If I could give out a fourth star in the game it would be Ryan McDonagh. The second year defenseman sparked the Rangers offense in the third period. He scored the second goal on a nice give-and-go with Brandon Dubinsky and made a great rush up the ice and fed Marion Gaborik a cross crease pass for a slam dunk goal to cap the scoring. McDongah also logged 24:30 of ice time.
- The only other player to see the ice more than McDongah was Dan Girardi who was on the ice for 28:53. The Rangers continue to battle through the loss of Marc Staal and Michael Sauer.