From the desk of: RAISE GRESCH WITH THE GREATS
NEW YORK RANGERS: Marian Gaborik's Shot "..is a Freakin Laser!"
Rangers Gain Points Number Fifty-Seven and Fifty-Eight the Old Fashioned Way.
Back on November 4, 2011 - the day after a Rangers shoot-out win over the Ducks, I snapped to my friend, "Ain't no shoot-outs in the playoffs!" He responded with, "No.., but you need the regular season points to get to the playoffs." Then we just looked at each other and wondered about what we just said. That was one of the shorter hockey conversations we've ever had. Unbeknown'st to both of us, that occurred just as the Rangers were embarking on a seven game winning streak.
Both my and his comments were born from the scoring struggles this team endured over the last two seasons. The Rangers used to survive long enough to manage themselves into a shoot-out. Putting things in the hands of their goalie was more often then not, their best way to secure a second point.
I don't know how many shoot-outs we were involved in last season, but at this time last year, I'm sure the number far exceeded five. That's how many shoot-outs the Rangers have been in this season. They've now won two, and lost three.
Trying to get to the shoot-out is no longer a matter of strategy for this team. These Rangers are learning how to finish games out. Two out of three times this season, what they haven't gotten done in regulation they finished off in overtime. The Rangers' lone overtime loss came way back in game number one versus Los Angeles played back in the Old World.
I hate three days off between games. And I'll point to that as a reason for the slow start to Thursday's game against Phoenix. But add this to the growing list of things good teams do: Start Slowly, and Finish Strong.
Look what Marian Gaborik did...again. Tuesday night's game started off like a mule cart and ended at the speed of light. That's what Marian Gaborik's shot looks like right now. He picked up the puck at mid-ice with a full head of steam and unleashed a comet past Mike Smith's right side, evening things up for the Rangers in the third round. Henrik then faced three more shots before Derek Stepan put the Rangers ahead for good in the sixth round of shoot-out. The King made his final save of the night and the crowd went home ecstatic.
The Rangers won 2-1, just the way we used to do it. Ah.., the good old days. But of course, these Rangers have done things quite differently this season. Their power play still looks familiar. But they haven't been turning their sticks into sawdust holding on for dear life in third periods anymore.
This season, getting home a little later from the game is a small price to pay for two points, especially when they are points number fifty-seven and fifty-eight of the season. That's three points better that the Boston Bruins for the Conference lead, and number one in all the NHL; one point better than Vancouver whom the Rangers beat 4-0 back on October 18th. And if I didn't mention it, this was their fifth win in a row. And it's their fourth such streak this season.
Back on October 29th, Ottowa handed the Rangers a 5-4 shoot-out loss on our ice. Thursday night, the Rangers will get an opportunity to even the score when the Sens visit MSG. And then..., We head to Toronto to play the Maple Leafs. And I'm in a terrible hurry to get there too. Toronto not only pounded Michael Sauer out of action since the last time we met, but the Maple Leafs pounded us over our two previous meetings this season as well. We lost two games against them by identical 4-2 scores. Ranger fans, I'd be paying very close attention to that game like a surgeon would his patient. There will be a lot to learn about this team on our next trip to the Great White North.
Let's go Rangers! Number One in NHL!