Friday, March 4, 2011

Everyone Contributes As Rangers Get Critical Win Over Woeful Senators

Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images

Now everyone can take a deep breath and step back from the ledge.  The New York Rangers did what they were supposed to do tonight and beat a bad Ottawa team 4-1 in their building and got back into the seventh spot I the Eastern Conference playoff race.  It is a feel good win because they finally finished off some of their chances, but in order for it to really mean something they have to carry over the confidence and lessons to Sunday’s game against Philadelphia. The best part of this win was that all four lines contributed to the outcome with each on scoring a goal and for the first time in a while, even though he didn’t steal the game, Henrik Lundqvist made some brilliant saves at the key moments of the game. Everything that had been going wrong over the last three games was reversed tonight, but one must also consider the opponent.  Enjoy it, but don’t think things are fixed by beating Ottawa.
New York would play another strong first period with much of the early action in the Ottawa zone, and they would finally be rewarded just after the midway point of the period.  At 10:08 of the first Vinny Prospal would score his fourth goal of the season with a patented Prospal celebration.  It was Prospal’s goal, but the credit for it belongs to Sean Avery who did all the work behind the net to create it.  Avery would dominate possession and then feed Prospal at the right circle for the shot and he beat Anderson who appeared to fan with the glove.
The difference between last night and tonight was the Rangers decided to carry over that effort into the second period and while it was looking like they might have the same story in being unable to get that elusive two goal lead, the damn would break.  At  6:26 of the period Mats Zuccarello would score for the first time in 19 games with a backhand shot off the rebound of Derek Stepan shot.
Just 12 seconds later Anisimov would make a beautiful drive to the net and went right around Anderson to put the puck in the net.  The play was made coming up the boards when Dan Girardi played it up the boards and Callahan chipped the puck ahead and Anisimov took over with the power move from the wall in.  That move, as frustrating as the inconsistency can be, is exactly why you wait on a guy like Anisimov because that is a tremendous exhibition of his skill and potential.
The Rangers would have some luck on their side tonight and the end of the second was a good example of that when the Senators had two great chances in the last 30 seconds, hitting the side of the net with one and then the post in what would have been a huge goal, but at the end of two it was 3-0 New York.
Stepan would add to the Rangers lead early in the third with his 18th of the season.  The goal was created by a beautiful feed from Wojtek Wolski and Stepan finished it with a beautiful goal upstairs.  Sergei Gonchar would tally for Ottawa to make it 4-1 and that is how it would end.
  • Dubinsky-Anisimov-Callahan played their best game as a line in a while as they were involved the entire game instead of just for certain shift.
  • Wolski was very good tonight and his pass to Stepan was a thing of beauty
  • Dan Girardi played his best game probably of the second half tonight.  He made a couple of brilliant plays to cover for Staal early and continued all night.
  • Michael Sauer continues to have a tremendous year and his willingness to step and stand up for himself and teammates is great.
  • Can Stepan and Anisimov hit 20 before the year is over?