NEW YORK NY - FEBRUARY 17: Ryan Callahan #24 of the New York Rangers is congratulated by his teammates for his goal in the second period against the Los Angeles Kings on February 17 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
The Rangers took yet another step towards getting back on track after the six-game losing streak with tonight's 4-3 shootout win over the Los Angeles Kings. As usual, it wasn't a pretty one, but the bottom line is that the Blueshirts picked up yet another two valuable points in the standings for the second straight game. Heart and resiliency are the two words that come to mind when describing the effort in this tilt, and those are two things that need to remain constant for the Rangers as we near the end of the regular season.
For the tenth time in their last eleven games, New York allowed the first goal tonight. This time it was Dustin Brown's spin-around shot in the slot that beat Lundqvist low at the 5:25 mark of the first period. It was a quick play that developed basically out of nothing, but I personally think that Hank needs to stop that one there.
Ryan Callahan would later pick up his second goal in two games when he tied things at one early in the second period. Derek Stepan did a great job of getting the puck to the net with his linemates crashing, and Callahan easily put away the rebound, which was just lying in the crease within his reach. A typical Callahan goal consists of going hard to the net, and that is just what the (alternate) captain did on that specific play.
The Rangers took a 2-1 lead at 6:10 of the third period when Marian Gaborik scored his first goal since January 24. A goal like that is exactly what Marian needed. He has recently started to pick up his play and become more noticeable, and now he finally buried a goal that he earned; he skated all the way up and fought off the check to take the shot. That's the Gabby we know.
Matt Greene tied it for Los Angeles with a point-shot less than two minutes later, though. Again, I think Lundqvist thought he should have had that one, and after looking at the replay, I do too.
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Brandon Dubinsky thought he had scored the game-winner when he pulled the Rangers ahead late in the period by stuffing in a Callahan shot that bounced off the boards. However, Dustin Brown came up clutch yet again to tie it at three for the Kings when he somehow banked a shot from behind the goal line off the back of Lundqvist's head and in.
The Rangers began overtime with a 4 on 3 powerplay, which eventually turned into 3 on 3 play with Dubinsky taking a high-sticking penalty midway through. Despite all the open ice, neither team was able to generate much offense, so to a shootout we went. Usual suspects Erik Christensen and Mats Zuccarello scored for the Rangers, while Lundqvist stoned two out of the three shooters he faced.
Like I said, Lundqvist would like to have a few of the goals he allowed back, but his 25 save effort not only led the team to victory, but also earned him his 200th career win. Congrats to King Henrik on that incredible accomplishment.
Marian Gaborik is starting to find himself now. His confidence is growing, he is shooting the puck more and now one finally went in for him. Look, he could only be heating up and if he could ultimately get to where he was last season, then that will be a tremendous offensive boost for this club at a crucial time of year. I am daring to put my belief in Gabby here, so I really hope he can keep this up.
Ryan Callahan and Brandon Dubinsky (Duballahan) both had great games once again. Obviously they each tallied a goal, but that lead by example factor came into play again. They are relentless and I think the team took on their personality and drive tonight, and that's why they are headed home winners. Sometimes you don't realize how big of an impact one player, or in this case two players, can have on an entire team. It is pretty remarkable.
I have some work to do before tomorrow's game against the Devils in Newark, so I am going to put a wrap on this here. The seventh place Rangers are in good position after this win, as they are four points ahead of eighth place and only three out of sixth. Another two would be fabulous tomorrow (Friday) in Jersey.