Player's only meetings, tirades from the coach, lineup changes, and fan discord. It was a full day in the world of the New York Rangers.
Oh yeah, they played a game too, and it was Henrik Lundqvist putting the Rangers on his back early, and then the offense did the rest.
Only the end result of tonight's first period looked different than last nights. The Rangers were still outworked and outshot for most of the frame, but managed to score twice off of Islanders goalkeeper Dwayne Roloson and took a 2-0 lead in to the intermission despite being outshot 14-4. The Rangers got goals from Ryan Callahan, who continued his recent hot streak, and Chris Drury (not a misprint) also found the back of the net. Drury's goal was his first since October 19th.
Callahan didn't waste any time adding to his totals, scoring his second of the game and ninth of the season just 27 seconds into the second period. The goal came on just the fifth shot on goal for the Rangers. Tonight was the first time in 8 games the Rangers found their way to the three goal mark, and they weren't done.
Marian Gaborik added the Rangers third power play goal of the night, scoring his 24th goal of the season with the Rangers on a two man advantage early in the third period. Artem Anisimov broke out of his drought as well, picking up his sixth goal of the season a few minutes later. Callahan assisted on Double A's goal, giving him the first four point night of his career.
Lundqvist was incredible for the Rangers tonight, making 35 saves. He kept the Islanders off the scoreboard early, when the Islanders were buzzing hard to the net, the Rangers were able to feed off their goalkeeper, and turn it into a big victory.
So after all the turmoil of the last 24 hours, the Rangers and their fans can take a deep breath and enjoy a well deserved victory. It feels like it has been a month since the last one.
Can't say enough about the Rangers special teams tonight. 3 for 6 on the power play, and killed off all 7 minor penalties they took.
Michal Rozsival has deservedly taken a lot of heat from all of us, but he probably played one of his best games of the year tonight. Same goes for Chris Drury. Maybe Torts knew what he was doing by not benching them along with Wade Redden and Ales Kotalik. He dropped Drury to the fourth line early in the game, and at least for a night, it paid off.
Now can Artem Anisimov get more playing time?
How long has it been since my last apology for agreeing with the Brashear signing? Probably too long, so again, I am sorry. I was so wrong. Like "New Coke" wrong. Like the Wilpons giving all their money to Bernie Madoff wrong. Like Garth Brooks trying pop music wrong.
Ilkka Heikkinen looks to be getting more and more comfortable every game. If he keeps playing like this, he could make it very tough for the Rangers to keep him out of the lineup.
Banter Star of the Game:
#24 / Right Wing / New York Rangers
Mar 21, 1985