If the Rangers find a way to build on their victory tonight against the Columbus Blue Jackets, we may look back at the timeout Head Coach John Tortorella called at the 9:31 mark of the first period as the turning point.
With the Rangers down 2-0, Tortorella summoned his team to the bench, but unlike the tongue-lashing they got against the Devils early in the season, he spoke very calmly and directly to his team. The result was the biggest offensive outburst of the season for the Rangers.
Of course, it was Marian Gaborik leading the charge, with two goals and and two assists, but tonight some of the other players on the team who've been in a drought also found the back of the net.
Sean Avery scored two goals in 51 seconds apart in the second period, part of a three goals in 1:11 outburst in the second period that was capped off by Gaborik twenty seconds after Avery's goal. Artem Anisimov also had a three point night, with a goal and an assist.
Ranger Hall of Famer Brian Leetch was in attendance, and the Rangers two new young guns on the blue line paid a fitting tribute to him. First, Michael Del Zotto split the defense and scored to put the Rangers ahead 3-2 in the first period, then Matt Gilroy got a beautiful pass from P.A. Parenteau and scored on a breakaway to give the Rangers a 7-2 lead.
On a night full of many positives, I'll give you one more: the Rangers may have finally found a suitable linemate for Vinny Prospal and Gaborik in Chris Higgins. Higgins played a terrific game, and notched two assists. Only his continued hard luck kept him from getting a goal.
Columbus superstar Rick Nash was held off the scoresheet, and was a miserable minus four on the evening.
The Rangers will now leave on a week-long road trip to Florida and Pittsburgh, and if they play well, it may have all gotten started with a simple timeout.
Notes and Quotes after the jump........
NEW YORK RANGERS POST-GAME NOTES AND QUOTES
November 23, 2009 - New York Rangers 7, Columbus Blue Jackets 4 (Game #23, Home #12)
- The Rangers defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets, 7-4, in front of a sold-out crowd (18,200) at Madison Square Garden; New York had five players register multiple points in the contest (M. Gaborik, A. Anisimov, S. Avery, C. Higgins, and P. Parenteau).
- After allowing the game's first two goals, New York tallied seven straight from 11:29 of the first period to 12:47 of the second, marking the first time the Rangers tallied seven unanswered goals since a 7-0 victory against Boston on Mar. 7, 2009; the Blueshirts tallied three goals in a 71-second span in the second period.
- New York have sold out 168 consecutive regular season games, dating back to Nov. 5, 2005 against New Jersey; the last regular season non-sellout was Oct. 31, 2005 vs. Montreal (17,697); including the playoffs, the Rangers sellout streak is now at 182 games.
- The Rangers are now 12-10-1 (25 pts.) on the season and 7-5-0 at home; in their last 21 regular season games at MSG, New York are 15-6-0, and have out-scored their opponents, 74-47, during the stretch; the Blueshirts also improved to a league-best 10-0-0 when leading after the second period.
- Marian Gaborik led all skaters with four points (two goals and two assists) to extend his point streak to seven games (seven goals and 13 points); he also tied for the game-high with a plus-three rating.
- Sean Avery notched two goals in 51 seconds, including one power play tally and the game-winning goal; it was his second multi-goal effort on the season and 10th of his career.
- Rookie Artem Anisimov notched one goal, added two assists, and finished with a plus-three rating; his three points and plus-three rating were both career-highs.
- Rangers defensemen Michael Del Zotto and Matt Gilroy recorded one goal apiece, giving the New York defense corps a combined 15 goals on the season.
- Christopher Higgins and P.A. Parenteau each collected two assists in the contest; Parenteau's two assists marks his first NHL multi-point game.
- Henrik Lundqvist made 26 saves to record his 10th win of the season; Enver Lisin skated in his 100th NHL game.
- The Rangers practice schedule for tomorrow, Nov. 24, is 11:00 a.m. at the MSG Training Center.
- The Rangers return to action on Wednesday, Nov. 25, when they will face-off against the Florida Panthers at BankAtlantic Center (7:30 p.m.), to begin a three-game road trip; the game will be televised live on MSG Network and can be heard on 1050 ESPN Radio.
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John Tortorella on the timeout...
"I just told them to take a deep breath because we weren't playing that badly. We just made a couple of mistakes and it ends up in the net. I just told them to take a deep breath (because) there is a lot of hockey left. They deserve a little bit of the credit of staying within themselves."
Marian Gaborik on the team's play...
"We had a good forecheck and we kept playing in their zone which was important. Our defensive side of the game was good. We're talking about having the third guy coming back and being responsible defensively and I think we did that. It has to carry over on the road. We haven't had a long trip in a while so we have to build on this and just go from here."
Henrik Lundqvist on Coach Tortorella's early timeout...
"It was good to have a break, that is for sure. I think the first goal was huge. To get that in the first period and not go in here trailing 3-0. We needed some positive energy and we got that from #10 (Marian Gaborik). After that, you could see how we got confidence."
Sean Avery on tonight's game...
"The biggest thing was coming back from a two goal deficit. I think regardless of what the score was, coming back and winning a game after you're losing 2-0 is big for a team that has been struggling. I hope it puts everybody around here in a good mood and the guys can go to Florida just feeling good and be able to not clench the stick as hard and just make some plays."
Blueshirt Banter Star of the Game: