It wasn't their best game but when one considers that it was a back-to-back situation with the second game against the hated Flyers at an energized Wachovia Center, you have to admire the Rangers' perseverance as they were able to capture their fourth straight in an exciting 4-3 shootout victory last night.
The difference was the accurate shooting of sniper Brendan Shanahan whose laser past Martin Biron's outstretched glove was enough for the Blueshirts to prevail because as expected, Henrik Lundqvist was unbeatable in the skills competition- repelling all three Flyer shooters who came his way including a calm stack of the pads on Scottie Upshall's bid to keep it going.
It allowed Tom Renney's club to pull into a first place tie with those same Flyers and become the first road foe to come out with a 'W' in the City of Brotherly Love. Philly had been a perfect 6-0 entering the action packed contest which was played on the edge.
There's certainly much to like even if top scorer Jaromir Jagr was held off the scoresheet. When the now red hot Scott Gomez who was flying all night notched two helpers on nifty transition goals by Fedor Tyutin and Shanahan, it was continued success for the ex-Devil pivot who apparently has finally grown more comfortable anchoring the ever dangerous Line One B with equally speedy pest Sean Avery and Shanny, who is starting to find the back of the net finally.
Though the power play fizzled and they couldn't hold two third period leads, it was also nice to see Petr Prucha stepping into one for his second of the season breaking a long goal drought since the season's opening week.
You also certainly got the feeling that the next six battles between these bitter rivals are going to be riveting hockey played on the edge. Both seem to be separating themselves from the pack in an ultra competitive Atlantic.
I loved the intensity. Who didn't enjoy a very good scrap between Orr and Cote? Maybe only Bettman Inc!
And with the predictable scrums with each team exchanging words before faceoffs, it told you how much this still early game meant to both clubs.
There's certainly a lot to like right now if you're a Ranger fan. The team is finally clicking and it helps explain why they've turned the corner and have now won eight of nine as they enter Pittsburgh tomorrow before returning home Monday to host most hated nemesis Islanders.
Let's see if they can keep it going!