Sometimes in sports statistics don't tell the entire story. Sometimes you need to see what things look like behind the scenes, to understand everything.
But in the case of Derek Stepan and Marian Gaborik, you can see their chemistry both in the numbers and behind them. Gaborik had two goals and an assist and Stepan added a goal and an assist of his own to help the Rangers to a 3-0 win over the Winnipeg Jets Sunday night.
Looking at the numbers, both Gaborik and Stepan received primary assists on each other's goal, and Stepan was involved in the scrum which loosened the puck for Gaborik's empty net goal, although he didn't record an assist on it. The assist he did get, however, was brilliant.
Join me after the jump for more.
Those are the numbers, but what about behind the numbers? It's hard to explain, but this video should show you what I'm talking about.
Look at the celebration. Stepan is joking around with Gaborik for the empty netter. I would have also shown the celebration after Gaborik's first goal, but the video doesn't go long enough. On that goal Stepan was giving Gabby some gut punches as though to say "you're welcome for the goal."
What does it show? They're having fun and that generally translates into playing well. It also means the two are starting to gain some chemistry.
Last year John Tortorella called Stepan the best playmaker on the team. This year that title goes to Brad Richards, but Stepan is easily second. The pass he dished to Gaborik for the two-on-one goal was a thing of beauty. And after a slow start Stepan is not only on fire, but he's showing poise and leadership beyond his years.
Speaking on poise, here's a look at Stepan's goal.
I would wager that many second year players would have seen the open net and just tried to fire the puck as soon as it got onto their stick. But Stepan recognized the puck was on edge, held it long enough to settle it on his stick and roofed the shot for a goal.
Although Richards in the top guy in terms of being a playmaker, Stepan is truly growing as a player. The 21-year-old has two goals and five assists, which is even more impressive when you consider his slow start to the season.
And if it's Stepan who is clicking with Gaborik then so be it. It doesn't matter who so long as it's someone, and it's nice to have Richards on the back burner as a plan B.
Thoughts on this guys?