The Rivalry - Game One
Game Two - February 14th
...no love lost.
NEW YORK RANGERS - Coach Torts Has Been Pushing Rookies Since His Arrival.
First, it warrants saying, John Tavares was the best skater on the ice Thursday night. Okay Islanders fans, that is all.
The Rangers made a symbolic leap forward Thursday night. They arrested third place from the Islanders with a convincing 4-1 win at the Garden. And for a night at least, it looked as if Coach Torts successfully arrested the Blueshirts situation and corrected their way.
For the moment, J.T. Miller is making Coach Torts look good. His ice time is coming at the expense of Brian Boyle, who apparently landed in the doghouse. In just his second NHL game since being called up from Connecticut, Miller scored the game's opening goal after only 1:29 minutes of play. The Islanders were defeated right then. The Rangers rookie also gave the power play a jolt with a second period goal, which in effect makes his coach look even smarter on two fronts. Say this about John Tortorella. Where many coaches cringe at the mere sight of rookies, Coach Torts challenges them and throws them into the fire. He has done that since his arrival.
On a side note, give continued credit to the Rangers Gordie Clark for the now years long and steady stream of prospects flowing through the Rangers system. Twenty-one year old 2009 #1 draft pick Chris Kreider and nineteen year old 2011 #1 draft pick J.T. Miller are merely the latest to arrive on the off-Broadway ice.
But consider what really happened Thursday. Ryan Callahan returned, and Marian Gaborik scored his sixth goal of the season. Those are clearly good things. But the Rangers needed J.T. Miller to be the difference against the struggling Islanders. Just ponder that for a moment.