Sorry for the lack of posts this week. Work was busy and I just couldn’t find the time or the strength to post. I’m a writer for a living, and after doing it 40-plus hours a week, sometimes you just need a break.
The Rangers Friday made it six wins in a row, defeating the Carolina Hurricanes, 5-1, at Madison Square Garden. With the win, the Rangers now have 21 points and are two points behind the conference leading Pittsburgh Penguins with a game in hand.
To the delight of practically everyone in the crowd, Sean Avery opened the scoring midway through the first period. He caught up to a lose puck just inside the Hurricanes’ zone and roofed a shot over the glove of goaltender Cam Ward for his first goal of the season.
Carolina tied the game late in the second period on a wrist shot by Alexei Ponikarovsky. The Rangers were trapped with four forwards on the ice following an icing at the conclusion of a power play. Brad Richards couldn’t complete a change and could barely skate, and Ponikarovsky’s shot beat goaltender Henrik Lundqvist.
With the game tied at one, Ryan Callahan was called for tripping at 8:27. About 30 seconds later, Eric Staal clipped Dan Girardi with his stick, negating the power play. Girardi made Staal and the ‘Canes pay with a power play goal off a gorgeous no-look pass by Richards to make it 2-1. Just nine seconds later, Brandon Dubinsky fired home a rebound shot from the far boards by Callahan for his first of the season to make it 3-1. Just under 3 minutes later, Callahan got a goal of his own on a goal-mouth scramble on a delayed penalty. Richards put the finishing touches on the route with a wrap-around goal after stealing the puck from Ward behind the net to make it 5-1.
Reaction after the jump
- Simply put, the Rangers dominated this game. Earlier in the year they were finding ways to win games after not playing too well. Now, they’re winning games and being the better team in the process. Most of this game was played in the Hurricanes’ zone. I’m particularly pleased the score reflected the Rangers’ dominance.
- Dubinsky’s goal- and subsequent reaction- were huge for this team. They need him to get going. He’s done everything but score, and to his credit, didn’t let it affect the other areas of his game. It’s funny, though, that his first goal is a gimme of sorts because he’s known for missing the easy shots. Hopefully this gets him going.
- It was great to see Avery score that opening goal, and what a goal it was. For those who don’t watch No. 16 on a nightly basis, the guy can skate and has some skill in those hands. He simply out-skated the Hurricane’s defenseman and cashed in on it. It was great to see John Tortorella finally move him off the fourth line and up to play with Richards and Ruslan Fedotenko because he deserved it.
- Lundqvist continues to be the backbone of this team, as he’s been since 2006. Didn’t have to make too many big saves, but when called upon, he stood tall.
- What can you say about Girardi that hasn’t been said. In my obviously biased opinion, there’s no great under appreciated player in the NHL. He isn’t flashy nor is he a household name, but he is without a doubt one of the top defenseman in the NHL. Like Tortorella said, it’s a crime that he wasn’t mentioned in the All-Star balloting. Instead we get the same guys year after year.
- Good sign for the team to get scoring for not only different players, but the players who have to be scoring. Tonight it was Callahan, Dubinsky and Richards, and Marian Gaborik did everything but score. The secondary scoring will come, but it won’t be as needed as in years past if the guys who are expected to produce do just that.
- The GAS line of Gaborik, Artem Anisimov and Derek Stepan didn’t show up on the scoresheet, but like I said above, they did everything but score. Hopefully Tortorella doesn’t’ disband it after one scoreless game.
- The Rangers are rolling right now, and I don’t know about anyone else, but I want to see how they match up against teams like Pittsburgh, Washington and Philadelphia.
- Loved the fans booing Staal every time he touched the puck. The guy is public enemy No. 1 at MSG right now.