If the Rangers can just play teams that are worse than them for the rest of the season, the playoffs are a sure bet. Unfortunately, that's a very short list.
But thankfully, the New York Islanders are still on that list, so all is right in the world, and at least for a night, the Rangers were able to take
The Blueshirts had an early offensive outburst, getting goals from Artem Anisimov, Marian Gaborik, and Michael Del Zotto in the first eight and a half minutes of the game, and as he usually does, Henrik Lundqvist made it stand up, not that the Islanders made him work very hard at it. The Isles were never really able to get their game going in this one, mustering only thirteen shots through the first two periods. Rangers were in control in this one from the opening face-off.
Anisimov was one of many Rangers who stood out in this game. Playing on the fourth line with Brandon Prust and Jody Shelley, the line was able to generate offense and get scoring chances all night long. Their strong play did not go unnoticed by the coaching staff, they were given as much ice time John Tortorella will ever give to the fourth line.
Gaborik added a beautiful backhand goal over Dwayne Roloson's shoulder in the third period. For Gabby it was his seventh multi-goal game of the season. He had terrific skating legs in this game, and appears to be close to fully healed from the Pre-Olympic injury.
More after the jump......
What a game tonight for Sean Avery. He was all over the ice, mixing it up, and managed to draw TWO penalties on one play after he threw a hit on John Tavares, resulting in a Rangers five on three power play, and a game misconduct for Trevor Gilles. Avery and Gilles were jawing in pregame warm-ups, and it spilled over into the game. He also led the Rangers with five shots on goal.
Dan Girardi converted on that power play to finish the scoring for the Rangers. It was Girardi's sixth goal of the season.
- Michael Del Zotto played maybe his best game of the season, at both ends of the ice. A goal, an assist, two blocked shots, just an all around terrific game.
- Olli Jokinen, I believe you are now working the door at the Chateau Bow-Wow. Deservedly so, you've been stinkin up the joint.
- Avery drawing that five on three and not getting a penalty himself was amazing. I can't say in my thirty
plus years of watching hockey that I've ever seen a guy draw two penalties on one play.
- Many times in sports, a
teamcomes to the realization that a postseason berth is unlikely, and it takes the pressure off of their play. Has that happened to the Rangers? Can't say for sure, but this was arguably their best game at the season, but perhaps coming a week or two too late.
- Thank you for ramming the 3-D thing down my throat, MSG. Made me wish I was listening to the radio. I just knew Sam and Joe would be modeling those glasses at one point, glad they didn't disappoint me. (Thanks for the picture Chris)