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Rangers vs Flames: Looking At Marian Gaborik's Hot Start

While there has not been a lot going right for the Rangers over the first 4 games; namely the lazy, sloppy penalties and leaky defense that has been saved by the King. There have been a few things going right for the Blueshirts in this young season. 

Marian Gaborik has begun to look like the Gaborik of the 2009-2010 season, starting the season with 3 goals in 4 games. His skating looks much better and he seems to be skating more in high traffic areas getting into the offensive zone and shooting the puck more on net instead of skating wide along the boards and dumping the puck off. 


A couple of factors for this that I've seen are:

1) He is not the primary puck carrier going into the offensive zone. Last season there were numerous instances where Gaborik would bring the puck into the offensive zone by himself, allowing the opposing defense to swarm him and clog up any passing and shooting lanes. This season, Gaborik has found early success this year by letting his line mates (Brad Richards and Derek Stepan) work to get the puck into the offensive zone with creative passing, Gaby would be allowed to skate into the open ice areas and set up for shots and passes giving him better looks

2) Brad Richards. It is hard to discount the early returns that we have seen from Brad Richards and his impact on Marian Gaborik, not only does Richards have three assists on all of Gaborik's goals this year, but more noticeable is that Richards is getting Gaborik room. When those two are on the ice, the defense can't just flock to Gaborik because Richards will be left open and vice versa. Also, Gaborik seems to be more comfortable out there knowing that he's going to get the puck from a guy who knows how to play on the 1st line

Gaby has looked a lot better thus far in the young season and that's only with 54:92 TOI. Imagine what could happen if the Rangers can stop taking penalties and start drawing some?