Forget 3D. Last night's 5-0 rout of the Islanders was a critical 2P, as in points, which have been hard to come by for the Rangers.
For Marian Gaborik, it was 3P, also as in points, as the club's leading scorer posted his 38th and 39th goals and added an assist to garner the first star of the night at Madison Square Garden. Artem Anisimov, Gaborik and Michael Del Zotto scored in the first 8:50 and kept up the pace for the remaining 51 minutes, a rarity at home.
"From the get-go we started off very good," Gaborik said, "and especially when we get a lead, it's way better, we have some jump, and then we just kept on playing. It was a great 60 minutes, and a great effort by everyone. We're still alive and we believe, we just have to carry this over to tomorrow night."
With the win, their first in four games, the 10th-place Rangers moved within five points of the Bruins for the final playoff spot. They trail the ninth-place Thrashers by two points. The Rangers have nine games left, including a visit to New Jersey tonight.
"When we are where we are, confidence is a big thing," said Henrik Lundqvist, who made 27 saves to earn his 23rd shutout. "We didn't complicate it and we didn't get stuck in our own end too much.
"The key for us is to follow up a good game with another really good game. Hopefully we can get some confidence from this; when you lose, it's easy to start thinking too much, but a win like this, maybe we can relax a little."
The Islanders, perhaps, relaxed too much. "This was probably our worst game of the year," said coach Scott Gordon." There was "no question" he said, that goaltender Dwayne Roloson, "was our best player." In the second period, Roloson made 17 saves, including pad saves of breakaways by Erik Christensen and Gaborik.
"Even with the lead," said Anisimov, "everybody kept going, forechecking, hitting, the whole way. We were all focused on one game. It's a long way but it's a good start."
Coach John Tortorella was pleased by the contributions up and down the bench and Sean Avery, in particular, seemed possessed and abrasive from his first shift. With the Rangers ahead 4-0 in the third on Gaborik's second goal, a top shelf backhander at 10:44, Avery's hit on John Tavares prompted Trevor Gillies to pummel him, giving the Rangers a two-man advantage. Dan Girardi's point shot with the Rangers up one man - his first goal in 23 games - made it 5-0, but Rangers still have a long way to go.
"We don't have a choice right now," Lundqvist said. "We need points every night and help from other teams as well."
Notes & quotes: Ryan Callahan, who missed the last two practices with a sore leg suffered Sunday, played 19:50 . . . It was Lundqvist's first shutout since blanking the Devils through overtime on Jan. 12, then losing in a shootout.
Jody Shelley's assist on Anisimov's goal was his second in 12 games as a Ranger since being acquired from the Sharks ... Brian Boyle, who was ailing, missed his first game since Dec. 21. Aaron Voros was a healthy scratch.