New Ranger Derick Brassard makes big playoff contribution

Derick Brassard of the Rangers skates in the Derick Brassard of the Rangers skates in the first period against the Washington Capitals during Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals at Madison Square Garden. (May 8, 2013) Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

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On April 25, Rangers forward Derick Brassard tweeted something both simple and elegant:

"Playoffs!!!!!"

In much fewer than 140 characters, Brassard summed up the way most hockey players feel when they reach the postseason. But Brassard hadn't had anything to tweet about in that regard since he entered the NHL with Columbus in 2007-08.

Brassard was injured when the Blue Jackets played Detroit in the first round the next season. He could have returned for the second round. But Columbus was swept.

That's why these playoffs have been extra special for Brassard, who was in the starting lineup for last night's game.

Brassard contributed two assists -- on Carl Hagelin's second-period goal and Dan Girardi's tie-breaking third-period power-play score -- as the Rangers evened the series at 2 with a 4-3 victory.

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Brassard, 25, was trying to build off his spectacular Game 3 on Monday when he had a power-play goal and two assists for his first postseason points in the Rangers' 4-3 victory.

Five points in two games? Not bad for a playoff rookie.

"He's grabbed a hold of it," said a smiling -- yes, smiling -- Rangers coach John Tortorella. "He makes just a great play on the power-play goal. I think he's stepped in here to try and make a difference and he's made some big plays for us. I'm not afraid to put him in a lot of different situations and a lot of different positions."

Brassard's assists were both things of beauty. He fed Hagelin with a cross-ice pass at 10:13 of the second period as the Rangers went ahead 2-0.

Then, with the score tied at 2, Brassard sent a backhand pass again across the ice to Dan Girardi, who fired a slap shot past Braden Holtby for the Rangers' second power-play goal of the series.

"His play-making ability is so crucial," Ryan McDonagh said.

On Monday, Brassard became the first Ranger since Sergei Zubov in 1994 against the Islanders to tally three points in his Madison Square Garden playoff debut, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Zubov, who was at the Garden last night, also had a goal and two assists.

"I'm just having fun," Brassard said. "They're showing a lot of confidence in me and I'm just trying to help the team. I know I can bring some offense. We have a lot of talent on this team. I'm just really excited. We can do a lot of damage and I want to be a part of it."

Asked Monday night what he has learned about scoring in the playoffs, Brassard kept it simple.

"Just make plays," Brassard said. "Shoot the puck and find a way."

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Brassard had five goals and six assists for the Rangers after being acquired in the Marian Gaborik trade on April 4.

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