Thursday, December 20, 2007

Gaborik Night in St. Paul

"It's Marian Gaborik night in St. Paul."-Sam Rosen, MSG Network after the Wild sniper converted a breakaway for his fifth goal of the night in the Wild's 6-3 victory over the Rangers Thursday night. Oh btw, he also assisted on the other Minny goal for six points. Amazing.

A simple but effective playcall from one of the best hockey broadcasters out there. It wasn't a good night for the Rangers who fell apart after taking an early one-goal lead courtesy of a Michal Rozsival power play tally.

Was it ironic that team captain Jaromir Jagr was outmuscled along the boards leading to a turnover and Gaborik's tying goal less than three minutes later which helped swing the tide? You decide.

The Blueshirts had played a textbook road period and should've been ahead. But instead, Jagr's one glaring mistake along the boards allowed Minnesota to get out of it tied.

From there, it became the Gaborik show as the 25 year-old Slovak scored two PPG 1:49 apart to open up the second making it three straight goals for a hat trick. The trick was nice as he got the puck by the left circle and maneuvered past Ranger defenders before going to the backhand flipping it past a beaten Henrik Lundqvist.

Less than a minute later, Martin Straka tallied his sixth from Jagr and Scott Gomez to slice the deficit to one. But an unsportsmanlike conduct bench minor (one of three which led to Wild goals) gave their opponents momentum back when he setup Pierre-Marc Bouchard's PP slapper at 10:56 to give them a 4-2 lead entering the final stanza.

Just when it seemed the Rangers might be able to withstand Gaborik's performance when rookie Nigel Dawes tallied his fifth off a turnover to cut it to one, Marian the Magnificent was at it again 41 seconds later for his fourth. This time, he was in the right place at the right time as an Aaron Voros shot deflected to him for an easy rebound which he deposited for his 16th.

A five-goal performance hadn't been done in 11 years since Sergei Fedorov's five-goal night for Detroit in an overtime win over the Capitals on Dec. 26, 1996.

It was during a four-on-four where the dangerous sniper converted a breakaway to accomplish the impressive feat as a capacity Excel Energy Center crowd saluted him.

"One time I got five goals when I was playing back home for a pro club back
there, but this is just totally different," Gaborik stated later to the AP. "You
score five goals in the NHL it's just a totally different experience. To reach it here with these guys in front of our fans is just unbelievable.

"It was pretty amazing," Wild captain Mark Parrish pointed out. "He was banking 'em in out of the air, scoring on breakaways, skating through everybody with it, making highlight-film goals. My God, he was doing it every which-way tonight.

"When a guy like that's feeling it, it gets pretty scary for the other team."

"I pride myself on how I respect the whole operation of the National Hockey League and the officiating therein," a disappointed Tom Renney said after being upset with a couple of calls which went against his club which proved costly. "I'm that way because I'm sincere about it. In the heat of the moment players will lose the handle too. I'm disappointed with the way things transpired. But it's no excuse."

They better come ready to play in Colorado tonight.

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