GABORIK MASTERFUL IN 4-2 LOSS TO CAPS
|RANGERS ON DEMAND
|Tortorella's Postgame Remarks to Media
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• RANGERS GAME CENTER
By Jim Cerny, newyorkrangers.com
Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden, the Rangers surrendered a late third-period goal, and did not take advantage of Marian Gaborik
’s two-goal outing, as they dropped a 4-2 decision to the Washington Capitals.
“Our biggest weakness is that we are not getting any secondary scoring,” Rangers head coach John Tortorella said after the game. “We played in surges at times, and we held them to 11-12 scoring chances. We’re just not creating enough for ourselves.”
|Washington star Alex Ovechkin, who was held to one point in the game, charges into Rangers forward Vinny Prospal during an open-ice collision on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden.
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Washington’s Matt Bradley snapped a 2-2 tie with 4:51 left to play in the final period, less than seven minutes after Gaborik’s second goal had pulled the Rangers even on the scoreboard.
Bradley worked the puck around Rangers defenseman Wade Redden
along the boards near the Blueshirts’ blueline and burst in toward goaltender Henrik Lundqvist
. With defenseman Matt Gilroy
draped on his back, Bradley was still able to roof a forehand shot past the gloved hand of Lundqvist for his fourth goal of the season.
“I was trying to turn around and I got caught up with the linesman,” said Redden, who tied with Gaborik in the team-lead with four shots on goal. “He just kind of whacked at it hard, and then was at full-speed when he got there. If I just get the puck and hammer it in there, there’s no scoring chance. We gotta have that.”
Tortorella added that Redden’s defense partner, 25-year-old rookie Gilroy, needed to make a better read on the play.
“Even if he takes the penalty, he’s got to make sure (Bradley) does not get the shot off there,” said Tortorella. “That’s just his inexperience. You’ve got a kid there who’s still understanding these types of things. He’ll learn from it.”
Washington defenseman Brian Pothier sent a backhander the length of the ice into an empty net with 16.7 seconds left to ice the game for the Capitals.
Trailing 2-1 in the third period, the Rangers were awarded back-to-back power plays at 4:36 and 6:56, and converted on the second to pull even with Washington.
, in the midst of one of his best games of the season, drew the first penalty -- a roughing call on John Erskine -- and earned an assist on the power-play goal that tied the game. Avery and P.A. Parenteau took the puck hard to the net, and when it trickled out near the left circle after a Semyon Varlamov save, Gaborik did the rest.
Gaborik collected the loose puck at the bottom of the circle and calmly roofed a shot past the lunging Varlamov for his second goal of the night at 8:23 of the third. Tuesday marked Gaborik’s third two-goal outing of the season, and his ninth multiple-point outing in 19 games played this season.
“We came back in the third and I thought we had some good chances down low,” said Gaborik. “Of course this is frustrating. It’s a tough one.”
The Rangers got off to a roaring start, scoring just 1:16 into the game and firing five of the first nine shots on goal. However, the Capitals slowly swung the momentum of the game toward their side, and before the first period was over they had tied the game and recorded the final 11 shots of the period.
Gaborik opened the scoring by depositing the rebound of Dan Girardi
’s right-point shot past Varlamov on just the second shift of the game. Somehow the Capitals’ defense left the Blueshirts’ leading scorer all alone, and Gaborik made quick work of scoring his 14th goal following Girardi’s low, hard shot.
The goal briefly brought Gaborik into a tie for the league lead with three other players. However, nearly 14 minutes later one of those other players -- Washington’s Alex Ovechkin -- netted his 15th to grab sole possession of the league goal-scoring lead, and also tie the game 1-1. Gaborik would tie Ovechkin later on in third period when he scored his 15th of the season.
Stationed straightaway 45 feet from the net, Ovechkin sent a booming one-timer past a screened Lundqvist -- off a perfect Mike Green feed from right wing -- for the power-play goal. Ovechkin’s score in his first game back from a six-game absence due to an upper-body injury brought to mind fellow Russian star Ilya Kovalchuk’s three-point outing last Thursday at The Garden in his first game back for Atlanta following a foot injury.
Ovechkin was not the only reason why the Caps took over the opening period after the Rangers’ strong start. Strong on the puck, physical in both ends of the ice, and receiving offensive contributions from the entire lineup -- the rugged Erskine recorded a team-high three shots on goal in the first -- Washington grew stronger as the period wore on.
“I didn’t think they really outplayed us,” said Redden. “They had more shots, and they were getting some shots on the power play. But I thought the first two periods, not much happened either way.”
The Rangers battled, though, with Lundqvist sharp between the pipes and winger Aaron Voros drawing loud cheers from The Garden Faithful after a rock-em sock-em fight with Bradley that left the Caps forward bleeding badly from a cut on his face.
Both teams played a strong defensive second period, with the Rangers and Capitals each limited to only six shots on goal apiece. The Caps, though, were able to score another power-play goal late in the period to take their first lead of the night, one they carried into the second intermission.
After Lundqvist made two good stops on Green and Chris Clark, Brooks Laich got in behind Redden to tap a rebound between Lundqvist’s pads with 4:16 left in the second. Laich’s ninth goal of the season was Washington’s eighth in its last 18 power play opportunities.
“The difference tonight was special teams,” said Lundqvist, who finished with 22 saves.
Shortly after Laich’s goal, Vinny Prospal
nearly tied the game for the Rangers. Skating on right wing during a 2-on-2 rush with Enver Lisin, Prospal made a pretty move to the middle and sent a shot against the grain that fooled Varlamov, but, unfortunately for the Rangers, hit the outside of the right post.
On the ensuing rush back the other way, Redden helped thwart a 2-on-1 rush for Washington by diving on the ice to deflect a pass into the corner.
The Rangers return to The Garden ice on Saturday night when they host the Florida Panthers. They will then conclude this three-game homestand on Monday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
|Three star selections