The sort-of-streaking Rangers have a well-deserved off day tomorrow after winning three games in four nights and avoiding a dreadful early-season dropoff. And tonight in the post-game locker room, they offered some explanations:
Sean Avery, who assisted on the game's opening goal at 1:26 of the second period: "The mindset before the game was that these two games (Toronto and Boston wins) don't really mean that much if we come out and stink the joint up. We're trying to model ourselves after a team that wins. That's winning three, four, five games in a row, not just two....We're at home, it's our building and we have to set the tone, and we did that int he first period. We haven't done that in a long time. " The Bruiseshirts are 1-1-1 at home.
Henrik Lundqvist: "You need some luck in tight games you need that extra bounce and tonight we had it. We are finishing checks a little more and guys are skating harder, a lot of blocked shots. We are really paying the price the last couple of games and it's great to see.....We (Martin Biron and I) are more in control when the team is more in control, I feel comfortable. I think Marty felt the same way in Toronto. It's great to respond this way after a so-so start." Lundqvist is 19-7-5 vs NJ witha 1.89 GAA.
Brandon Dubinsky: "The main focus was to come out and put doubt in their mind. They're in a bit of a skid and we know the types of meetings and preparatioins they're going to have coming in here. To their credit, they were fighting to the end. I think every guy will tell you they're tired."
Ryan Callahan, who I wrote about extensively in the previous post, had seven hits and four blocks, wasn't the only Ranger with a goal and assist. Michael Rozsival, the team's oldest defenseman, had the pair, as well as Brandon Dubinsky.Rozsival has six points. He had just 23 last season. Dubinsky has seven points in seven games playign with Callahan and Artem Anisimov.
"The conversations and communication we have throughout practices and games keeps all three of our confidence levels high. We have the skill and ability to be successful, if it's coupled with the hard work."
Dubinsky on Anisimov: "he's built some muscle to get stronger and I think you're seeing signs here early. It's a joy to play with him. It's all starting to come together for him."
Michael Del Zotto, who gracefully moved out of his locker so I could squeeze in and speak to Callahan, was very, very good on the ice. He played a career-high 28:38, with six hits and four shots.
A night after committing 10 penalties, the Rangers took just four and kept the Devils off the board. Interesting quote from Zach Parise: "We're a pretty talented team. We're missing something. We're not playing together." (Editor's Note: They've got a lot of young guys and a rookie coach)
D Mike Sauer, who skated in warmups and was announced by Tortorella as a starter, was scratched due to soreness and Steve Eminger dressed after sitting for two games. He played 8:09. Another surprise starter, Jeremy Williams, the Hartford callup who was in for Todd White, played just 3:43. Brandon Prust, played 16:50 and had five hits after being struck by a stick in the right eye in Boston.
The Rangers will pracrtice Tuesday in advance of hosting the Thrashers Wednesday. Some Tortorella quotes coming up in a bit...