If the season ended today, the Rangers would be in the playoffs.
Of course, that's the old adage, because there are plenty of games to play and bullets to dodge, yet for the first time, following the 5-1 defeat of the Lightning at MSG, the Blueshirts are in 8th place in the East with 12 points (6-5).
After losing the first two games of the season, the Rangers are 6 of 9, and seem to have a little juice, a little confidence. It certainly helps that Dan Girardi and Ryan Callahan are back. Callahan put the Rangers up 2-0 with a goal-scorer's goal, undressing Mathieu Garon on a breakaway, and Girardi and Mac Staal helped shut down Steven Stamkos, held without a point for the first game all season. Oh, and G had two assists after missing two games with a lower-body ailment.
The game story and a notebook are over on newsday.com and in the paper, but I'll throw in some more quotes and stats below.
Here's Torts on Arron Asham and why the bench reacted so well when the fourth-liner scored:
"A guy like Ash, what he does, a lot of players won't do it. Those types of guys who fight for their teammates and do all of the dirty things in the game, and score a goal, you;re certainly happy for him. He's played on about a hundred teams and every team we talked to said he's a great guy."
Marc Staal led in ice-time with 24:20 and had four hits... Rick Nash was plus 4 and had five shots in addition to the goal and assist
On the downside:
Matt Gilroy played just 40 seconds, one shift in the third. Torts' dog-house? Stu Bickel likely against feisty Boston.
Michael Del Zotto: Zero shots, sloppy in first period.
J. T. Miller was 3 for 8 in faceoffs, minus 1 in 13:44.