The Rangers did their part today, but it will all be for
naught unless Tampa Bay beats Carolina
Still, it’s hard not to feel good about the team after
today’s game, even though they blew a golden opportunity Thursday against the
Atlanta Thrashers and were embarrassed last Thursday against the New York
With Ryan Callahan out of the lineup, the Rangers desperately
needed some players to step up. Today’s
performance was chalk full of guys ready to do just that. Captain Chris Drury scored his first goal of
the season in his first game back from injury, rookie Ryan McDonagh scored his
first NHL goal, recently scratched winger Wojtek Wolski scored his first goal
in 18 games and the list goes on and on.
It was the type of spirited effort that we saw the majority
of the season, and it came at a perfect time. Obviously no one thought the Rangers would be in this position, least of
all the players themselves, but they refused to be denied today despite falling
behind 1-0 and then 2-1. New York was relentless
on the forecheck and the team was extremely effective getting the puck deep and
on the net.
The result was a five goal outburst over Marty Brodeur and
the hated New Jersey Devils.
But again, the win means nothing unless the Rangers get help
from the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight. Tampa Bay
is locked into the fifth seed and has nothing to play for. Already it has been suggested that some of
the team’s stars may get reduced ice time, and the Lightning are starting their
second string goalie, Mike Smith.
So celebrate the win for a few hours and then sit back and
get ready to cheer on the Bolts. Later
tonight we’ll either be discussing a first round matchup against the Washington
Capitals, or yet another playoff berth snatched away on the final day of the
- For a while there, it seemed like Ilya Kovalchuk might
end the Rangers’ season by himself. What
a game, and what a second half, for the winger.
- Once the Rangers got the lead, was there any doubt that
Hank wouldn’t give it back up?
- A ton of the team’s lesser names stepped up today, but
again, nothing from Marian Gaborik. One
moment in the second period was pretty representative of his season. A Devil defenseman lined up a point shot with
Gabby in front of him, and Gabby flinched twice and made it very clear that
going down for a shot block never crossed his mind. It’s a play his teammates have made on a game
by game basis all season, but not Gaborik. Luckily his teammates produced plenty of offense, or Gaborik would have
been a gigantic goat today.
- We’ll talk about this plenty more, but it’s still
amazing the contributions the Rangers have gotten from so many rookies and
young players. McDonagh, Mike Sauer and
Derek Stepan were all very noticeable today, and continue to play mature games
beyond their years.
- Erik Christensen and Ruslan Fedotenko really stood out
offensively today, although neither ended up scoring.
- Brian Boyle also looked like a horse out there and was
really throwing his body around. Think
that’s the next step for his development, being more of a physical force.