I don’t know about everyone else, but I really like this winning feeling. Every night for this team you’re expecting a W, and you won’t accept anything less. I guess this is what it’s been like to be a Detroit Red Wing fan for the last 15 or so years.
Last night the Rangers came out flat against the Pittsburgh Penguins, and were outshot 11-1 at one point, but were only down 1-0 after a Ben Lovejoy goal in the first few minutes.
Brad Richards tied the game late in the opening period when he buried a rebound for his third goal in three games. It was his 15th goal of the season. In the second period, Ryan Callahan fed Brandon Dubinsky on a 2-on-1 shorthanded break for his 5th of the season and fourth in the last two weeks, to make it 2-1 Rangers. The goal was very similar to last year’s goal by Callahan, also on a 2-on-1.
The Blueshirts put the game away early in the third when Marc-Andre Fleury coughed up a puck to Marian Gaborik, who’s backhand shot into the open net rang off the post. A Penguin player was able to sweep it away, but it found the stick of Derek Stepan, who blasted it home his 9th of the season.
The Rangers are 26-9-4 for 56 points, 1st in the Atlantic, 1st in the East and 1st in the NHL.
- The Ranges were poorly outplayed in the first half of the opening period, but Henrik Lundqvist bailed them out. That’s the benefit of having a world-class talent in net, huh? He kept it close and the Rangers found a way to tie it before the end of the period, and just built on it from there.
- Great to see Dubinsky scoring goals. I knew it was just a matter of time until he was putting pucks in the net, and he’s really coming around. The confidence is there, and I think he’s going to shine on a line with Richards and Callahan.
- Great timeout by John Tortorella. He really knows — for the most part — when to take them. It really settled the team down, and they were fine after.
- Shame that Gaborik didn’t get an assist — which would have been his 300th career — on the Stepan goal, but the referees made the right call. It’ll come, sooner or later.
- Ryan McDonagh had another fantastic game, which has become more the rule than the exception. I’ve said it before, but no one has benefited more from the Marc Staal injury than McDonagh. The kid is turning into one hell of a player.
- Speaking of Staal, he’s getting there. He jumped into the rush a few times last night and wasn’t afraid to throw his body around or join in the scrums. He’s still a few weeks away from being the old player we’ve seen grow up over the last couple years, but he’ll get there.
- Brian Boyle is one tough ombre. He twisted his ankle late in the first and was ready to go in the second. Although he isn’t scoring, he’s doing everything else right.
- Anyone else hate that Vitale guy on the Penguins like me? Little punk
- The Rangers are just winning and winning consistently. It’s something I could get used to
Follow Matt on Twitter @MattCalamia