Someone other than Henrik needs to step up
Arthur StapleArthur Staple
Staple, with Newsday since 1997, has covered high school
The Rangers' hero, all year long, has been obvious to everyone. Henrik Lundqvist has been their MVP, The King, and he has carried his team to victory early and often, including in Game 3 here two nights earlier.
But the thing in the playoffs, especially when a game gets to overtime like Wednesday night's Game 4 did, is that you can't just rely on your goaltender to win you a game. You need a hero.
The Rangers needed a hero. What they got is a best-of-three series to see if the 51 wins and 109 points this season made them a team to beat or a team that, at a time when heroes are discovered, has no one to step forward.
John Tortorella liked a lot of what his team did Wednesday night. There was the quick 2-0 lead, two power-play goals to quiet the vocal crowd here. Even after the Senators broke through and tied it, the third period belonged to the Rangers for long stretches.
Even the first 90 seconds of overtime was the Rangers' dominion as they cycled below the goal line and forced Senators goaltender Craig Anderson to be on his toes.
Anderson has been forced to play second fiddle to Lund- qvist this series, but the Ottawa goaltender isn't so far behind. His play, like Lundqvist's, kept it tied until someone could win it.
That wasn't someone in a Rangers jersey. Marian Gaborik assisted on both goals, but he was a non-factor at even strength, bullied off his game for a third time since he scored a key goal in Game 1.
Brad Richards also had a pair of assists and he was firing pucks or absorbing them all night, with eight of the Rangers' 33 shots on goal and six of their 30 blocked shots. But he misfired on the best chance, a backhand with Anderson down and out of position early in the third, sweeping the puck into Anderson's body rather than the yawning net.
Brandon Dubinsky? Artem Anisimov? Ryan Callahan? Effort all around, but only Callahan's power-play goal to show for it. Just about every Rangers defenseman jumped up to contribute, but it was Marc Staal's awkward step-up in the neutral zone, followed by a terrible line change, that gave Turris room on a 2-on-2 to snap off a shot past Lundqvist for the winner.
"We still need some more guys involved," Tortorella said, not naming any names.
He didn't have to. Gaborik had a terrific season with 41 goals, but the physical play of this series has left him on the perimeter too often. Dubinsky's season-long scoring woes still are evident, even if he mixes it up with opponents on every shift.
Derek Stepan, dropped to the fourth line to start both games here, hasn't had the time or space to be creative, and he's juggled more pucks than he's handled.
The Rangers, as Tortorella often has said, are the sum of their parts. It is the identity that the coach craved, that his team perfected over a season that was successful beyond anyone's thoughts.
But when your best player is your goaltender and your best asset is the desire to sacrifice for the greater good, there's still a void in the postseason.
You need a hero, someone not named Henrik Lundqvist, and the Rangers haven't found theirs yet.
But they will have to as the series shifts back to Madison Square Garden Saturday night.