|CBJ||2||1||1||(0 - 0)||4|
|NYR||3||4||0||(0 - 0)||7|
• PHOTO GALLERY
• RANGERS GAME CENTER
By Jim Cerny, newyorkrangers.com
The Rangers had been desperately searching for better offensive production over the past several weeks. On Monday night at Madison Square Garden, the dam finally broke, and a torrent of goals flowed forth as the Blueshirts erupted for a season-high-tying seven goals in a 7-4 victory over the visiting Columbus Blue Jackets.
The Blueshirts, who were led by Marian Gaborik’s two goals and two assists, also scored seven goals in a 7-2 rout of the Maple Leafs in Toronto on Oct. 12.
“It’s a big boost of confidence for the team and for the guys who scored,” said Gaborik, who is 7-6-13 during his current seven-game point-scoring streak. “It definitely feels good for everyone. We haven’t been scoring that many goals lately, so it was huge.”
Sean Avery added a pair of goals for the Rangers, while Artem Anisimov recorded the first three-point game of his career with a goal and two helpers. Fellow rookie P.A. Parenteau notched his first two-point game in the NHL, and Christopher Higgins also chipped in with two assists.
“This was a good team win,” said Anisimov. “We were strong on the forecheck and played hard, winning a lot of battles. And I think we played good in the defensive zone, too.”
After spotting Columbus an early 2-0 lead, the Rangers stormed back to score the final three goals of the first period and the first four of the second -- including three in a span of 1:11 -- to place a stranglehold on the game. Interestingly, the Rangers came close to scoring two more goals during their second period onslaught, but shots by Higgins and Ryan Callahan rang off the post.
Leading 3-2 in the middle period, the Rangers erupted for three goals in just over one minute of play, stunning the Blue Jackets in the process while sending The Garden into pandemonium.
Avery scored his first of the game, on the power play, at 6:12 to begin the barrage. After Parenteau was denied on a breakaway by Columbus goalie Steve Mason, Avery muscled a Blue Jackets defenseman off the rebound, collected the puck behind the net, and wrapped it inside the far post for his third goal of the season.
Before the goal could be counted, however, it was placed under video review. On the video, Mason was seen to be pulling the puck back into play after it had crossed the goal line, and the goal was rightfully awarded to the hard-working Avery.
Mason was pulled from the game by Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock at that point, having allowed four goals on 18 shots. Veteran Mathieu Garon entered the game, but fared even worse.
Avery scored again -- this time off a pretty feed in front from Gaborik -- at 7:03 to put the Rangers up 5-2. It was the first shot Garon faced, and he had no chance to stop it as he positioned himself to brace for a Gaborik shot on a 2-on-2 rush, until Gaborik at the last second sent a quick pass into the slot that found Avery behind a Columbus defenseman.
Twenty seconds later, it was Gaborik’s turn to score his second goal of the game -- and league-leading 18th of the season. With the Blue Jackets running around in their own end, Gaborik slipped into the low slot, where Higgins found him wide-open with a perfect pass. Gaborik made a nifty deke, and finished into the back of the net as The Garden Faithful went wild.
With two goals on two shots against Garon, the Rangers nearly made it a perfect three-for-three moments later when Callahan’s shot hammered off the Columbus goalie’s mask. So the Rangers had to settle for going three-for-four against Garon when Matt Gilroy scored his third goal of the season at 12:47.
Parenteau spun away from the boards in his own end and sent a pass towards center ice that the speedy Gilroy skated into, proceeding to take off on a breakaway. Gilroy made a gorgeous fake to his backhand that brought Garon out of position, and fired a forehand shot into the cage, giving the Rangers a 7-2 lead.
Considering the fact that the Rangers had scored six goals in total the previous three games, the seven-goal outburst in a span of 21:18 of the same game was downright shocking. Their stretch of consecutive goals came to an end with 1:12 to go in the second when Kristian Huselius wired a tracer past Henrik Lundqvist for his ninth goal of the season.
“No doubt about it, this was a big relief,” said Parenteau, the rookie winger. “You could feel the pressure in the locker room. A lot of guys were not scoring, not doing what they’re supposed to do. So tonight was a big game, a big breakout game.”
A timeout called by Rangers head coach John Tortorella just 9:31 into the first period just may have helped the home team turn the game around.
At that point, the Rangers seemed confused in their own end, and were already trailing 2-0 on goals by Columbus’ Derek MacKenzie and Jared Boll, both of which were assisted on passes from behind the net into the slot by rugged winger Raffi Torres.
After Boll’s goal, Tortorella used his timeout. Despite a shaky first shift following the timeout -- Lundqvist had to make a pair of tricky saves against the charged-up Blue Jackets -- the Rangers started getting the puck in deep in the offensive zone, and began to forecheck much more aggressively.
“I thought it was a good timeout,” said Parenteau. “Torts just told us to relax and keep doing what we were doing because we weren’t playing that badly. It was a couple of mistakes. He was real positive. He didn’t want those two goals to affect us.”
The result of their renewed hard work was that the Rangers were rewarded with goals at 11:29 and 13:37 to tie the game, and then another off a scintillating individual effort by Michael Del Zotto at 17:19 to stunningly grab a 3-2 lead which they carried into the first intermission.
Diligent hard work behind the goal line by the top line of Gaborik, Higgins, and Vinny Prospal led to the Rangers’ first goal of the night. A hard hit by Higgins popped the puck loose behind the Columbus net, starting a sequence that ended with Gaborik sneaking into the slot to convert Prospal’s pass for his first goal in the game.
“I think the first goal was huge,” said Lundqvist, who made 26 saves to earn his 10th victory of the season. “We needed some positive energy and we got that from No. 10 (Gaborik). After that, you could see how we got confidence.”
“It was important for us to get that first one before they got their third one,” said Tortorella.
Gaborik’s goal was the sixth consecutive score for the Rangers covering four games that was tallied by either Gaborik or Prospal. That streak would end two minutes later when Anisimov had a Wade Redden slap shot deflect off his leg and past Mason at 13:37.
After a video review confirmed that an earlier shot by Gaborik on the scoring sequence had not crossed the goal line, the Russian rookie was credited with his fifth goal of the season, and the game was tied 2-2.
Four minutes later Del Zotto intercepted a pass at center ice, turned and wheeled into the offensive zone. Using Parenteau as a decoy to his left, Del Zotto proceeded to rip a wrist shot past the stick of Mason at 17:19. The goal was Del Zotto’s fifth of the season, and first in 14 games, and incredibly handed the Rangers their first lead of the night less than eight minutes after Columbus had stormed out to a 2-0 advantage.
“I knew they were changing, so I took the puck up ice and tried to press,” said Del Zotto. “The puck was rolling a little bit, so I was a little bit lucky.”
An important win in their back pocket, the Rangers now jet off on a three-game road trip which begins with a tilt against the Florida Panthers in the Sunshine State on Wednesday night. The Rangers then will skate against the Lightning in Tampa on Friday, and conclude the trip in Pittsburgh against the Penguins on Saturday.
|Derek MacKenzie (1) ASST: Raffi Torres (2), Jared Boll (1)|
1 - 0 CBJ
|Jared Boll (2) ASST: Raffi Torres (3), Rostislav Klesla (5)|
2 - 0 CBJ
|Marian Gaborik (17) ASST: Vinny Prospal (18), Chris Higgins (4)|
2 - 1 CBJ
|Artem Anisimov (5) ASST: Marian Gaborik (13), Wade Redden (5)|
2 - 2 Tie
|Michael Del Zotto (5) ASST: NONE|
3 - 2 NYR
|PPG - Sean Avery (3) ASST: PA Parenteau (2)|
4 - 2 NYR
|Sean Avery (4) ASST: Marian Gaborik (14), Artem Anisimov (5)|
5 - 2 NYR
|Marian Gaborik (18) ASST: Chris Higgins (5)|
6 - 2 NYR
|Matt Gilroy (3) ASST: PA Parenteau (3), Artem Anisimov (6)|
7 - 2 NYR
|Kristian Huselius (9) ASST: Antoine Vermette (13), Mike Commodore (4)|
7 - 3 NYR
|Jakub Voracek (6) ASST: Derick Brassard (10), R.J. Umberger (8)|
7 - 4 NYR
|Jan Hejda Tripping against Donald Brashear|
|Marc Methot Interference against PA Parenteau|
|Rick Nash Roughing against Michal Rozsival|
|Aaron Voros Fighting (maj) against Jared Boll|
|Jared Boll Fighting (maj) against Aaron Voros|
|Donald Brashear Fighting (maj) against Jared Boll|
|Jared Boll Fighting (maj) against Donald Brashear|
|Ales Kotalik Hi-sticking against R.J. Umberger|
|Rick Nash Interference on goalkeeper against Henrik Lundqvist|
|SA: 18||TOI: 26:12|
|Saves: 14||EV: 8 - 11|
|PIM: 0||PP: 6 - 7|
|SV%: .778||SH: 0 - 0|
|SA: 15||TOI: 33:48|
|Saves: 12||EV: 7 - 10|
|PIM: 0||PP: 4 - 4|
|SV%: .800||SH: 1 - 1|
|SA: 30||TOI: 60:00|
|Saves: 26||EV: 25 - 29|
|PIM: 0||PP: 1 - 1|
|SV%: .867||SH: 0 - 0|