Everyone Stepping Up For The New York Rangers
In another complete team effort the New York Rangers walked away with their 20th win of the season, this time over the New York Islanders.
And as the Rangers battle for first place in the division tonight when they host the Philadelphia Flyers, it's hard to pick any one player who has made the biggest difference in this season's early success.
Sure, you can select Henrik Lundqvist, who might be the odds-on favorite simply because of his position. I don't think anyone could argue to heavily against Lundqvist, especially with the numbers he's boasting early in the year. Lundqvist has a sparkling 2.03 GAA, a 93.4 SV% and 13 wins under his belt already this young season.
But any credit given to Lundqvist has to take into account Martin Biron (seven wins, 1.84 GAA, 93.3 SV% in nine games this season) and the defense in front of both goalkeepers. Which brings us to the next selection, after the jump.
Dan Girardi is another name you simply can't leave off the list. In a season which started in pure panic with the Marc Staal injury, Girardi was a main factor in righting the ship and keeping the defense steady despite being without the team's top defender. But, akin to the situation with Lundqvist, while Girardi deserves a lot of credit, so does another young defender.
When Girardi stepped up into the No. 1 defenseman role, someone needed to replace him at the No. 2 spot. That player was Ryan McDonagh, who has been playing on Girardi's side all year and has played a vital role on the Rangers' defensive success.
But how can you leave off Marian Gaborik? The Rangers' snipe is two goals away from last year's total, and his 20 goals is tied for best in the NHL. Gaborik has been the main source of offense for the Rangers this year, but he also hasn't done it alone.
How can you talk about Gaborik without talking about Artem Anisimov (22 points), Ryan Callahan (23 points), Derek Stepan (24 points) and Brad Richards (26 points) as well? All five of those players have added the much-needed "secondary scoring." I only use parentheses around secondary scoring because there have been times when all four of those players have lead the scoring charge.
Essentially, it hasn't been one person or one thing. And on elite teams, that's generally the case.