1) Marian Gaborik: Everyone, you can relax just a bit. Understanding that Toronto was absolutely putrid tonight (so much for me being interested in the Rangers aquiring Francois Beauchemin), I love that Marian Gaborik not only scored four goals, but he went to the net to score trash goals and then scored two goals that only a superstar scores. I am absolutely convinced that Gaborik has been laboring from a shoulder injury, and when he started to get healthy, several goaltenders were robbing him. His confidence was shaken, but his first goal undressing Jonas (don't you have to be good for people to call you "The Monster?") Gustavsson was a confident play. The rest of the night he was brimming with confidence. People forget that even when he was hot last year, he wasn't getting a large number of chances. It just seemed like every time he touched the puck in a dangerous spot, the puck went in the net. He has been getting chances, and last night I think the light went off. The Rangers desperately need him to be a goal a game guy until the All-Star Break.
2) Seconday Scoring: Brian Boyle was finally placed on the power play right where Rangers fans have have been screaming for him to be on the PP. The Wotejk Wolski - Mats Zuccarello tandem were electric all night and probably should have scored more often than they did. Artim Anisimov made several spectacular passes, and Sean Avery created space for Gaboik. And the footsoliders Brandon Prust and Ruslan Fedotenko continued to do thankless, important work against the boards and checking the oppositions top line. It was a gutsy effort from a team that needed everybody to step up.
3) The defense was solid, but I want tocall special attention to Matt Gilroy. It was easy to notice his plays in the offensive zone, but a shift in the defensive zone caught my eye. The 4th line got stuck on the ice after an unpressured icing by Chris Drury when the Rangers were up 2-0 in the first period. The 4th line got trapped in the zone and Gilroy made 4 or 5 plays in a row to bail out busts by Drury, Weise, and Newbury. His confident play in all three zones has made him a much more dangerous offensive player as well. He will never be Larry Robinson in his own end, but Gilroy's effort allows Glen Sather to continue to season Micheal Del Zotto in Hartford.
4) Henrik Lundqvist looked uncomfotable in the first, but he made some big saves in the last two periods. Other than the soft Pouilet goal against Montreal last week, he has played Vezina quality hockey for a month. The Rangers continue to need him to be stellar. Who plays in goal tonight? I'd prefer to see Marty Biron in the begnin RBC Center, and then play Lundqvist Saturday and Monday. (Full disclosure: I have club level tickets for the game against the Capitals.)
5) Okay, it wouldn't be a French60Wasp fanpost without some negative, and this sour apple is pointed at the Captain, Chris Drury. With the injury to Brandon Dubinsky and the spectre of a 3 game losing streak looming, this is the exact game where you anticipate that a guy with Chris Drury's reputation for leadership would step up. Instead, he was by far the worst New York Rangers forward during the first period. Drury stayed away from scrums near the boards, then coughed up the puck on a simple clear, took a delay of game under no pressure, and then takes an iced the puck under zero pressure with his team up 2-0. And that was just his first 3 shifts on the ice. As the game developed, he had some scoring chances, but most were the product of terrific crafty plays by Kris Newbury (antagonistic and offensively crafty, and cheap, sounds like a good 4th line center eh?) and he didn't come close to finishing. He also exhibited no joy, no enthusiasm, and he was spotted skating away from scrums while his team mates jumped in to protect guys. Even Gaborik got involved when the Leafs went after Avery in the 4th period.
There was not a Rangers fan more happy to see Chris Drury put on a blue jersey than me, but his skill level has eroded to the point that Glen Sather has to figure out a way to get out of his albatross of a contract this summer. The Rangers can not afford to be giving a $6 million a year player 4th line minutes coupled with sympathy shifts at the end of blowouts. If Chris can't play anymore, then he needs to do what is best for the team and accept a buyout.