In about 25 hours, the Rangers went from the a Rocky Mountain low to a Minnesota peak. With a convincing 5-2 win, in which the four Rangers with ties to Minnesota contributed, the Blueshirts are now 5-0-0 in back to backs and 7-3 on the road.
Marian Gaborik had an assist on Alex Frolov's goal and four shots in just 16 minutes and Derek Boogaard just three hits in 5:28, but they left for the thousand-mile flight back to New York quite pleased after a significant bounceback win against the Wild, who were 6-3-1 in Xcel Energy Center.
"Just to get back to our structure, and answer the right way, was big," said coach John Tortorella, who was behind the bench for his 300th NHL game. "The first thing I look at is conditioning, not so much during camp but in the summer time, they have come into camp in very good shape. And you’d like to think we’re developing a mental toughness; I thought we defensed really well." The Wild had 28 shots on Martin Biron.
Derek Stepan and Michael Sauer also had assists in their first pro game in front of doizens of family and friends. “You get a little more excited, I knew my mindset had to be on the game," said Stepan. "I tried not to hear the fans…Not too many times am I going to get back to Minnesota and play in the Xcel, so each time its going to be something special."
Some significant stats:
Brian Boyle was awarded his first assist of ther year on Ruslan Fedotenko's goal in the third. Boyle has eight goals.
Brandon Prust, who gritted his way through 15:55 with a charley horse in his right leg from Friday night, also assisted on that goal. "I don’t know many guys tougher than him," said Stepan. "For a guy to play on a knee that he can hardly bend, that's saying something."
Tortorella shuffled the Anisimov, Callahan and Dubinsky line. "They've been stale the last few games." Dubinsky did score his team-leading 12th of the season unassisted in the third.
Dan Girardi had two assists (his 9th and 10th) and was named the first star. He and Marc Staal, reunited, led all Blueshirts in ice time with 24-plus minutes.
The Rangers penalty kill was 4 for 4 against the NHL's most potent PP, and is 22-for-22.
Michael Del Zotto's power play goal was only the 2nd in the past 13 ops.
Matt Gilroy played his best offensive game in a while and still posted a plus-2.
The Rangers struggled in the faceoff circle again, 67 percent to 33.
Sean Avery played 8:12
Rangers are off tomorrow before facing Calgary at home on Monday.