I resisted the urge to use "Gabborific" or even "GABULOUS!" in my headline, because, well.....you know.
On the night the Rangers began life without Brandon Dubinsky, they welcomed Marian Gaborik back from the slump rock he had been hiding under. The Rangers got four goals from their struggling winger, and Henrik Lundqvist picked up his seventh shutout of the year as the Rangers blasted the Toronto Maple Leafs 7-0 at Madison Square Garden tonight.
The Rangers opened the game by scoring three goals in a span of 2:26 in the first period, two from Gaborik and one from Brian Boyle. After those three goals, Jonas Gustavsson was pulled for the remainder of the first, with Jean-Sebastien Giguere mopping up the opening period.
Ruslan Fedotenko greeted Giguere with a goal near the end of the first, and the Rangers went to the locker room with a comfortable and completely unfamiliar 4-0 lead. However, Fedotenko left the game with what appeared to be a serious shoulder injury, so the woes continue for the forwards. [Note by Jim Schmiedeberg, 01/19/11 10:00 PM EST Fedotenko shoulder sprain. 2-4 weeks as per MSG broadcast.]
With Giguere nursing a sore groins, Gustavsson was back between the pipes for the second period, and Marian Gaborik was right there waiting for him, picking up right where he left off, with another pair of goals just over two minutes apart. It was Gaborik's first four goal game as a Ranger, and the first time a Ranger scored four goals in a game since Radek Dvorak did it against the Islanders on March 29th 2001.
Mats Zuccarello got in on the fun later in the period, scoring his third goal of the season.
On a night where Marian Gaborik scores four and Henrik Lundqvist gets a shutout, its easy to lose sight of other accomplishments, so I apologize if I forget anyone here:
- Artem Anisimov four assists
- Sean Avery three assists
- Derek Stepan was 5 for 9 on faceoffs tonight. For him, that is terrific.
- Wojtek Wolski two assists.
- Gaborik also had an assist, giving him a five point night.
- Rangers had seven goals on just twenty eight shots.
This is just another reason to be so incredibly proud of this Ranger team. The Hockey Gods keep piling it on them, and they just keep coming back for more. Obviously, losing Dubinsky for four weeks hurts, but the Rangers once again picked it up, didn't feel sorry for themselves, and went out and played a terrific game. It was a down day today for Ranger fans, we needed this game.
Granted, this task was not accomplished against the class of the NHL. Still, I don't think it would have been too hard to envision the Rangers losing this game. A great way to start a very tough stretch of the season.