Playing Martin Brodeur always seems to bring out the best in Henrik Lundqvist, and tonight was no different.
Lundqvist is now 15-6-4 lifetime against New Jersey, with a goals-against under 1.8.
In the second period, all hell broke loose. First, with the Rangers on the power play, Marian Gaborik banged home his 35th goal of the season to give the Rangers the lead. The goal came after a terrific sequence of passes from Michael Del Zotto and Ryan Callahan.
Fifty-six seconds later, it was Callahan with a fantastic slap shot that beat Martin Brodeur over the shoulder. A minute forty three later, Chris Drury put the Rangers up by three with his ninth goal of the season.
Ranger fans got to see Brandon Prust fight on Garden ice for the first time, when he mixed it up with the much larger Andrew Peters. The two then rematched later in the first. The first fight was more of a dance, the second had a little more action with Prust landing a take-down. If he sticks around, and that's always a big "if" with this team, but if he sticks around, he is going to be a fan favorite for a long time. Prust also picked up an assist on the Drury goal. Peters is five inches taller than Prust, and forty five pounds heavier. Prust is one tough kid, Ranger fans.
The story of this game was Lundqvist, who just seemed to be in another dimension tonight, making at least five spectacular saves, and stopping forty one shots, including nineteen in the third period.
It also bears noting the Rangers did a lot of the "little things" we joke about on this site. Blocking shots, and just good sound hockey awareness. For example, with two minutes left in the game, and the Devils pressing, Sean Avery provoked Ilya Kovalchuk into a fight, which left Kovy watching the remainder of the game from the sin bin.
This game was a shining example of the type of play the Rangers are capable of when they set their mind to it. It's just unfortunate they can't find a way to play like this every night.
- Why are the Devils on MSG in HD, and the flagship franchise of the network isn't?
- Sean Avery takes a penalty in the first period, and MSG posts his name as Steve Avery. Nice.
- Matt Gilroy has been joining the offensive play more of late, and taking more shots. It's good to see. We know he has talent, he just needs to use it.
- I thought the Rangers got a real emotional lift after the second Prust fight. That was to me when their game really started to pick up.
- Props to you guys, a fine showing as always in the open thread. This site is kicking ass all over the place, and its all because of you guys, I am eternally grateful.