You have to go back to around Thanksgiving, Nov. 23, when the Rangers beat
the Blue Jackets at 7-3 Madison Square Garden, to unearth the last time the
Rangers put up a five-spot or more. Henrik Lundqvist couldn't even recall the
day. So for the Blueshirts, who hadn't broken the two-goal barrier in
17 of their last 21 games, last night's 5-2 conquest of the Islanders
counts as a holiday.
"It's hard to be satisfied," said Lundqvist, who
finished with 35 saves, "because we're in such a tough spot, but you
have to enjoy it. It's been a tough couple weeks."
Indeed. The Rangers had lost five straight, scored
two goals or fewer in 12 of the last 14 and were torched by head coach
John Tortorella after the listless 2-1 loss to the Isles on
"We wanted to come out strong and get the first
one," said Ryan Callahan, who did just that, the first of three power
play goals at 13:06 of the first. Chris Drury banged in a rebound for
his first score in 20 games and on their fourth shot, the Rangers were
holding a surprising 2-0 lead after being outshot initially 10-1.
"Hank made some key saves for us," said Callahan who added his ninth
goal and an assist. "I don't think we were concerned, We were pretty
composed on the bench, we talked about it before the game. I thought
we played with the lead pretty well...It's nice to see some payoff,
some dirty goals to get us over this hump of not putting the puck in
the net. That's what we needed."
Marian Gaborik, with his 24th goal (Markus Naslund led
the team with 24 last year) and two assists, dominates the
conversation when it comes to the Rangers' most dangerous scorer. And
deservedly so. But as the Rangers (15-16-3) have struggled mightily to
put the puck in the net, Callahan has delivered. With the two goals
last night in the win that seemed to restore some spirit in the locker
room, the Rochester native upped his total for five in the last seven
It was their fourth straight win in Uniondale, and
Lundqvist held the Isles to two or fewer goals in six of the last
seven. "There's no secret that the game's is a lot easier when you
score goals. I relax and you can see the guys who score just have a
little more confidence," he said.
That would include Michal Rosival, subbing for the
scratched Ales Kotalik on the point on the power play, and Vinny
Prospal, each of whom had two assists. Artem Anisimov scored his sixth
at even strength in the third to make it 5-1.
"The power play obviously was a key," said Tortorella.
"Cally did a really good job...It was similar to Atlanta when we were
putting pucks to the net and looking for rebounds." One difference:
Last night, the Rangers won.
The Rangers head to Philadelphia for a
Saturday matinee a cheerier bunch and even Lundqvist could laugh at
his own near-misfortune.
It came at 11:09 of the second, with the
Rangers up 3-0 and on a power play. Nate Thompson raced Lundqvist for
a puck that skittered towards the right circle. As Lundqvist took some
longer strides, he tripped and fell on his stomach. Thompson collected
the puck and angled for a better shot at the empty net, as Lundqvist
reached out with his stick and appeared to distract Thompson, who
"I just jumped out and I think I hit his skate
when he shot," said Lundqvist. "In my opinion, that's my save."
Dan Girardi recorded his seventh assist and Sean Avery his ninth...The Rangers dominated in faceoffs, Driury won 11 of 16 and the Blueshirts took 62 percent...After Donald Brashear's penalty at 3:03 of the second, he was on just three more shifts...Rozsival played a team-high 26:37 including 5:35 on the PP...Gaborik by the way, is second in the league in average time on ice per game, just six seconds behind Ryan Getzlaf