Hmm. Derek Stepan (three assists in the last three games) may have found himself a spot, or at least more time, on the first line. The rookie played 8:09 in the third, mostly with Marian Gaborik and Alex Frolov and on the ill-fated 5 on 3, while Erik Christensen was benched for all but 1:51.
On a 2 on 1 in the first, Christensen (zero shots in 12:44) attempted to pass to Gaborik on their line’s first shift of the game. His pass never made it. Said Tortorella, “Erik’s got to throw it on net. You can’t look for more on Tim Thomas.”
Stepan's play in center ice, getting a piece of Dennis Seidneberg and the puck, taking off to the offensive zone and backhanding a pass to Gaborik for a break-in and scoring was impressive. "It hit me in the chest, then I got a stick on it and a piece of him. It was the first bounce that came my way. It kinda felt good and then from there Gabby was yelling for it so it was easy for me to get it to him. He finishes well, better than anyone."
Playing with Gaborik and Frolov, he said, "it's good. Anytime you play with those two guys, it's gonna make life easier on you. Very skilled guys. I'm just going to work on playing my game, keep things simple, give them the puck and go from there."
As for the 5 on 3? "Tough. 5 on 3s in this league, you have to do a good job on completing. We were on the doorstep a couple times, can't find a way to squeak one by. It's not an easy pill to swallow. In this league, you need the goals when you can get them."
"Ten out of ten times."
That's how often Henrik Lundqvist said he stops a shot like Mark Recchi's game-winner at 1:10 of the third period tonight. "Just a terrible goal.I think we did a pretty good job, I just ahve to stop that third one there."
Dan Girardi probably makes the correct play from the corner in the second period 10 of 10 times too. Patrice Bergeron pressures him and Girardi backhands the puck---instead of rimming it around behind the net---to where Nathan Horton grabbed it and fed Milan Lucic alone in front fpor a goal at 11:06 of the second to tie the game at 1.
"Just not the right play," said coach John Tortorella. "It's a play we never make up the strong side. They scored two goals when we pushed the puck up the strong side."
The other was when Matt Gilroy, a righty playing the left side, chopped at a loose puck and allowed Tyler Seguin an unassisted goal. "He's in a helluva spot there. I'd like to see him maybe just try and hold it and stop on the puck instead of try and bat it."
Rangers outshot Bs 16-5 in the third....and 28-12 in the last 40 minutes...Dubinsky has 14 points (eight goals, six assists) in the last 14 games...Callahan, with an assist, has 15 pointds in the last 14....The PK was 3-for-3 and is 23 of 24 in the last seven games....Gaborik and Callahan had a game-high six shots on net...Lundqvist's assist was the sixth of his career...Rangers were credited with 34 hits, and lost the faceoff war 54 percent to 46...Sean Avery played 7:11
No practice tomorrow, but I'll check in from Denver...