Although Thursday's 2-1 shootout victory over the Anaheim Ducks wasn't pretty, it gave the New York Rangers their first two-game winning streak at home this season. Marian Gaborik and Henrik Lundqvist starred in the win as the Rangers lifted their record to 5-3-3.
Just because it wasn't pretty does mean there wasn't improvement.
For the first time this season the Rangers were the team who were watching an opponent steal points. Jonas Hiller made a few jaw-dropping saves, and truly kept Anaheim in the game when the Rangers' offense was buzzing. But Lundqvist answered every big save Hiller made, and then won the game in the shootout for the Rangers with a little help from an unreal move from Gaborik.
The reality of the situation, however, is the Rangers have won two games in a row. It doesn't matter how the team got the two points on Thursday, New York got them, and can now continue building on what they've done.
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I know we've talked about him quite a bit over the past few weeks, but we're going to talk about him again. Ryan McDonagh has been an absolute monster for the Rangers, and is really starting to show some flair in the offensive zone. If not for a jumping puck McDonagh would have most likely banged home his second overtime winner of the season last night.
Ryan Callahan continued his stellar play Thursday night after playing his best game of the season in the win over the San Jose Sharks. Now the Rangers just need to hope for Brandon Dubinsky to score his first goal of the season and get his offense back on track. Dubinsky has played better the past few games, but can't seem to buy a goal right now. Hopefully that changes soon.
I also want to give major props to Lundqvist as well, who admitted to beat reporters that he needed to get a win to get his confidence back. Well he got it on Thursday, and did everything in the shootout. Teemu Selanne might have scored in the shootout, but it was another stunning goal no goaltender had a prayer to stop.
In the end, the Rangers are moving in the right direction. The Ducks might have been tired but they are still a very dangerous team and the Rangers were able to hold them off and get the win. Good teams find a way to win games like that, which is exactly what the Rangers did.