Sunday, March 13, 2011

Dubinsky Shootout Winner Seals Crucial Rangers Victory Over Sharks

Don Smith/NHLI via Getty Images
Coming off arguably their worst performance of the season Wednesday in Anaheim the Rangers took the ice tonight in San Jose looking for redemption.  It took them all the way to the shootout and six rounds later Brandon Dubinsky sent the Rangers home with a hard fought two points when he beat Anti Niemi five-hole.  If not for Wojtek Wolski coming up with a clutch goal in the third round of the shootout the Rangers lose as Dan Boyle had the Sharks poised for the win with his beautiful goal on the backhand against Lundqvist, but Wolski kept it alive and Dubinsky finally cashed it in.
The shootout winner by Dubinsky pushed the Rangers record to 8-3 in the skills competition, which while it might hurt them in tiebreakers later has been critical to their current standing.  With the win the Rangers moved back into seventh in the Eastern Conference with a four point “cushion” on ninth place Carolina.
Dubinsky might have gotten the winner, but tonight was all about Henrik Lundqvist as he stole two points for the Blueshirts.  Henrik while solid many nights has not stolen too many of late, but tonight was certainly one of those as he stopped 31 shots, numerous of the top notch variety and both goals that beat him were once again deflected. 
The Rangers came out sluggish in the first period and were controlled for much of the first period, but were able to keep it even until Ryan Clowe scored off Marc Staal and over Henrik Lundqvist’s glove.  The Sharks were on the power play after Matt Gilroy fumbled the puck behind the net and eventually took a hooking penalty.  Off the ensuing faceoff Marc Staal was hit with a high stick and no call was made with the play eventually working back to Clowe would shoot it off Staal and in.  It was a horrible missed call and more bad luck for the team on deflected goals.
New York answered 4:27 later when Erik Christensen finished off a beautiful feed from Vinny Prospal.  The play was a great cycling shift, but the end of the play was setup by a crucial pinch by Michael Sauer who kept it in the zone and played it back down the boards to Gaborik who dropped it behind the net for Prospal.  Overall the Rangers had to be happy to be tied after one considering they were outplayed for much of the period.
The Rangers carried over the late momentum from the first period into the start of the second and Michael Sauer gave them a 2-1 lead just 1:16 into the frame.  This play was a beautiful read from Sauer who noticed that a San Jose player was without a stick and so he moved up into the high slot and fired the shot through traffic and by Niemi.
Though New York would carry most of the play in the period it would be San Jose that took late momentum with Ben Eager scoring yet another deflected goal with just 3:34 left in the period to tie the game.  The Eager goal would begin as a shot by Torrey Mitchell and then deflected off Artem Anisimov, Dan Girardi and finally Eager before going in.
San Jose dominated the third period, but it would be Lundqvist making some huge saves to get the team to OT.
  • Brandon Dubinsky and Artem Anisimov were the best Rangers forwards for me tonight.
  • Michael Sauer was phenomenal in this game in every facet
  • Marc Staal had a tremendous bounce back effort and laid out Kyle Wellwood with a huge hit
  • Dan Girardi also responded well with nine blocked shots.