The New York Rangers pulled off an improbable 4-0 victory last night against a Vancouver Canucks team that easily could have been up 4-0 themselves through the first two periods. But Henrik Lundqvist made 40 saves -- in one of the best outings in his career -- and the Rangers dominated the third period en-rout to the big win.
While I don't want to stop the celebration, I do just want to bring down the level of excitement a little bit. Yes, this was a huge win for the team, and could be exactly what the guys need to get this season into gear. But the game could have easily been out of hand before the Rangers finally woke up in the third period, and while I'm not apologizing for having Lunqvist as a goaltender, let's just remember why New York was able to chalk this one up in the win column.
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However, there were many improvements in the win, the biggest being secondary scoring. Brian Boyle, Mike Rupp and Ryan McDonagh were three of the four goal scorers Tuesday night. The Rangers have talked about the need for secondary scoring, and New York got just what the doctor ordered. It should also be noted that Brandon Prust has two assists.
Marian Gaborik did score eventually, potting his third goal of the year to give the Rangers a 4-0 lead, assisted by McDonagh and Brad Richards. Funny note: Richards has assisted all three of Gaborik's goals this year. That's what he's here for right?
We have discussed before how McDonagh's offense might not be too far behind his defense, and he showed that tonight. While I'm still not convince he will become an offensive force this season, his play was remarkable Tuesday. McDonagh's goal was a thing of beauty, and his pass to Gaborik was jaw-dropping. Here's a video in case you missed it:
Yes, those silky smooth moves right around the crease were from a defenseman. I'm betting the Montreal Canadiens are simply shutting their eyes and plugging their ears when McDonagh plays well, which is pretty much every night.
Michael Del Zotto earned his first point of the season, assisting on Rupp's game winning goal. It was his shot that caused the big rebound to get to Rupp. Del Zotto saw a lot of action Tuesday, even on the penalty kill, which was very nice to see. Hopefully he keeps it up.
Speaking of Rupp, I know a lot of you have been down on him, but this is exactly the reason why the Rangers went out and got him. He's not going to be an every-night difference maker like Richards, but he's going to shine periodically, and tonight was one of those nights. Sure, he only played for seven minutes, but don't discount his goal to get things started.
But everything comes back to Lundqvist. The start of the show did just about everything last night, helped of course by a relentless defense who clogged the shooting lanes all night, but when the Rangers needed him (which was often) he was there.
The win will rejuvenate the team, for sure. But more importantly, it will relieve some pressure from the media and the fans.