Well now. It's amazing what this team can do when they play with a little "jam" and put forth an effort. The Rangers were trailing the Toronto Maple Leafs all game, until a four goal outburst in the third period that secured the win and two points.
This game started out pretty slow for the New York Rangers, as they gave up the first goal of the game just six minutes in from Mikhail Grabovski. Grabovski was left unaccounted for in front of Henrik Lundqvist, and John-Michael Liles found him on the doorstep with a nice pass from the blue line. Lundqvist really didn't have a chance as Grabovski made a move to the backhand and had the whole net to himself.
The Maple Leafs were able to widen their gap with just under three minutes to play in the first frame. James van Reimsdyk was the recipient of a loose puck that slipped behind Lundqvist on the power play. Again, a very horrid showing from the defense in front of the net to clear out bodies and the rebounds. Whatever John Tortorella said during the first intermission worked very, very well. Not to mention, the Leafs only had three shots on goal in the first period to the Rangers 14. Definitely a period the Rangers would like to put away and forget about completely.
In the second period, the Rangers looked like a completely different team than they did in the first. They were playing with some life and getting in on the forecheck once again. One player who stood out to me today was Benn Ferriero. In his first game with the Rangers, he had tons of speed, was hard on the puck, and gave the defensemen hell below the goal line. Overall, a great performance from him and hopefully many more to come.
Just five minutes into the second period, Brad Richards got the Rangers on the board with a rebound goal of his own. Marian Gaborik's shot on net created a lot of chaos in front, and Richards found the loose puck and poked it under the pad of James Reimer. Although they weren't able to find the tying goal in the second period, they continued to pound shots on net and were getting scoring chances as a result. Throughout two periods, the Rangers held an pretty convincing 25-9 shot advantage, but were unable to solve Reimer.
It took until the third period for the flood gates to finally open. Marc Staal was able to net the tying goal just seven minutes into the third on a beautiful feed from Michael Del Zotto. Shortly after, Marian Gaborik redirected home his fourth goal of the season to put the Rangers ahead by the score of 3-2. At this point, the Rangers were operating at completely different level than they were in the prior two periods. They were beating the Leafs to pucks in their own end, and were controlling the play behind the net. With under three minutes left, Brian Boyle redirected home his first of the season, which all but secured the win for the Rangers.
To put the icing on the cake, Rick Nash set up Marian Gaborik for the empty netter to make it a 5-2 final. As I said earlier, it's amazing what a team can do in 20 minutes when they play with heart. We saw exactly that tonight. One thing that still remains to be a problem for the New York Rangers is their power play. They're not gaining the zone cleanly, which in turn, doesn't allow them to slow down and setup in the offensive zone.
You could tell John Tortorella wasn't thrilled with their special teams performance as he gave assistant coach Mike Sullivan an ear full during the intermission. I think it's safe to say that Sullivan's days as assistant coach are very limited if his power play units keeps this up.
After it looked like this one would be another horrendous game, the Rangers surprised us and turned it around in their favor in the final 40 minutes. The Rangers will have a few days off before they faceoff against the Philadelphia Flyers for the second time this season. Maybe Sullivan will work with his power play units during that time frame. Just a thought.