Few Clouds 42° Good Afternoon
Few Clouds 42° Good Afternoon

The Wrap: Rangers beat Isles 4-3 but gain no ground


           Anders Eriksson played just 7:44, as Tortorella went with five d most of the way...Jokinen and Prospal were named 1 and 2 stars...Comeau's second goal at 13:27 of the third, also fooled Lundqvist. He shanked the puck and Lundqvist said, "I went down, and came back up and it went between my pads." Lundqvist said "we didn't panic" in the room down 2-0 after one period. "We knew that sooner or later we were going to create some chances. When we killed that 5 on 3 in the second."

         The line of Olli Jokinen, Vinny Prospal and P.A. Parenteau didn’t start tonight's game in Uniondale game together. But the trio ended up as the best on the ice. They scored two goals and compiled five points, each was plus three and Jokinen, in his best game in more than a month, had four shots.
           Jokinen, an unrestricted free agent in June who arrived from Calgary in the Ales Kotalik-Chris Higgins trade, hadn’t scored since Feb. 12, an overtime winner in Pittsburgh, and recorded just six points in his previous 14 games. But he tied the score at 2 last night when Kyle Okposo’s stick broke on a clearing attempt and he took a shot from the slot that zipped through defenseman Mark Flood and past Dwayne Roloson at 12:57 of the second period.
          It was the second of four straight Rangers goals and led to two critical points that kept the Rangers, with 78, four behind current playoff teams Philadelphia, Montreal and Boston, and two points behind the ninth-place Thrashers with six games to play.  
         “Olli had great speed tonight,” said Henrik Lundqvist, who allowed two goals---one by Blake Comeau that spun wierdly over the line---on the first nine shots before settling in.  “He really stepped up at a great time. We didn’t get any help tonight, but we’ll get some down the road.”
                Actually, the Rangers got unexpected help from Jokinen and Prospal, whose goal snapped an eight-game drought, and another strong game from Parenteau, his second straight since called up from Hartford to fill in for the injured Ryan Callahan. “He (coach John Tortorella) put us together after a few shifts and we clicked,” said Parenteau. “We have a little bit of everything, skating, shooting, physical play. I felt like we played well below the hashmarks; we knew their weakness was the back end and we tried to expose that. It’s great to play with guys of that caliber.”
               The trio’s play overshadowed the third goal by Marian Gaborik and an assist from his former teammate with the Minnesota Wild, Aaron Voros, who backhanded a pass from behind the net that ticked off Mark Streit’s skate, where Gaborik gathered it in and shot it past Roloson for his 40th of the season, becoming the 17th Ranger in franchise history to hit or surpass that mark.
             Gaborik reached 40 for the second time in his career; he is the first Ranger since Jaromir Jagr in 05-06 to do so.
            It was the first point for Voros, who had been a healthy scratch for 15 of 17 games before a start in Toronto Saturday, since he scored in Tampa on Jan. 19.
            "We had a little more at stake in the game than they did," said Mac Staal, whose sixth of the year at 5:05 of the third made it 4-2. We knew that if we could get it down low and cycle it would be difficult for them."  
Notes & Quotes
              The Rangers are in the hunt for diminutive (5-7) Norwegian free agent forward Mats Zucarrello-Aasen, 22, who has 104 points in 90 games in the Swedish Elite League. GM Glen Sather has spoken with him and his agent…Goaltender Cameron Talbot, a 22-year-old who played for the University of Huntsville, has signed with the Rangers…Corey Locke, who played 6:35, became the first player in franchise history to wear No. 84 …Two current Rangers were named are among the five most overrated NHL players in a players poll conducted by Sports Illustrated. Toronto’s Dion Phaneuf led with 21 percent of the vote, Wade Redden six percent and Sean Avery five percent.

New York Sports