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The Wrap: Rangers notch 1st win at Garden, skin Sharks 5-2


                    Was it simply a matter of time or was it the looming return of Sean Avery that spurred the Rangers to their first win of the season at MSG?
                   To me, beyond the guys who hit the scoresheet a couple times, it was an A to W effort, from Artem Anisimov, who scored his first of the year, to Andre Deveaux, who played a solid 6:50,  to Marian Gaborik, to Wojtek Wolski, who had seven shots on net to Jeff Woywitka, who recorded his first point as a Ranger with an assist.                              
                   "Everybody contibuted," said coach John Tortorella, who wasn’t making any guarantees last night, including whether the returning Avery would be in the lineup on Thursday against the Anaheim Ducks.
                  “I like the way a lot of people played,” Tortorella said following the team’s first three-period effort of the season, resulting in a 5-2 defeat of the San Jose Sharks. “I’m not force-feeding anything. If I look at the tape and I think guys have done their job, then stay with your team.”
                     Unlike Saturday, when his team coughed up a three-goal lead to the Senators in the third period, the Rangers took a 5-2 edge into the final 20 minutes and held on to raise their record to 4-3-3.
                    We didn’t ease up at all, said Ryan Callahan, who contributed two goals and an assist and wore the winning Broadway fedora in the locker room. “We kept going at them. Emotions on the bench were high. It was good character win.”
                     Three other Rangers---Erik Christensen, Brandon Dubinsky and Dan Girardi, with two assists each---had multi-point nights, Derek Stepan and Artem Anisimov scored their first goals of the season and Martin Biron won his second straight start as the Rangers finally prevailed at the Garden after three tries. 
                     They didn’t shrink after the Sharks erased a 2-0 first-period lead forged on a one-timer by Ryan McDonagh---his third goal of the season---at 4:46, and a power play goal by Stepan at 14:53. 
                      The Sharks, who had won five straight road games, trimmed the lead in half at 17:50 after Douglas Murray’s shot rang off both posts and Joe Pavelski scooped up the puck and tucked it behind Biron for his eighth of the year. And when Logan Couture knotted the score at 11:03 through the second, after more than a minute of sustained pressure in the Rangers zone, the Garden crowd went silent, anticipating another collapse. 
                     Instead, in the third game of this six-game homestand, they regrouped. "We told ourselves we have to keep our foot on the gas pedal, we can;t sit back," said Girardi. 
                 Callahan sandwiched goals around Anisimov’s beautiful backhanded roofer over Antti Niemi while driving to the net after receiving a headman pass from Christensen. Earlier, Christensen found Callahan to the right of Niemi, and the captain slid the puck in to restore the lead to 3-2 as the man-advantage ended at the 14 minute mark. The goal was ruled as even-strength.  Callahan then provided the three-goal margin at 19:12, when, falling away from the play to the left of the cage, he managed a backhanded swipe of the puck into a half-empty net.
                     I felt some consistency in every aspect of the game,” said Biron, who stopped 24 of 26 shots. “We crashed the net and were rewarded. At some point you forget about the score. We’ve played some good periods of hockey, but we weren’t able to get as win, To be able to consistently play through zone after zone was the key and we did that for sixty minutes.” It also was the first time the Rangers, with 31, had outshot an opponent this season.
                  Another positive sign for a team struggling offensively were the nine goals in the last two games. “We know we have guys who can score,” said Callahan, who has four goals in the last four games. “It was just a matter of time.”                  
                 The Rangers are off tomorrow and will practice Wednesday before meeting the Ducks at home...when told the Joe Thornton said the Rangers were the softest team on their six-game road trip, all Tortorella would say was "wonderful."....The Rangers committed only four penaties, and one was for fighting, when Bradin Prust took on Ryan Clowe seven seconds in...Brian Boyle was tightlipped about his high-stick penalty at the end of the second. Replays showed the lumber never made contact....Mike Rupp (left knee) saw a doctor, and Tortrs and the front office will discuss options in the next few days. One of them, I assume, is surgery
                 More on Avery, including Torts pre-game remarks, and on Anisimov on And remember to follow me at

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