Last night, amidst MB30 breaking the shutout record in Pitt, Henrik Lundqvist had a pretty stellar performance along with his team in Raleigh, posting a 3-1 win. Since Mount Tort erupted, the Rangers have won three in a row. Matt Gilroy and Mr. Kleenex returned. Both acquitted themselves well even if Wade Redden was a little too giddy in that postgame interview with Dave Maloney. At least he played more physical using every ounce of tin.
Most notably, the club won to push back over new NHL .500 (17-16-3), remaining two behind eighth Florida, who became the latest team to beat up on the Flyers in a fight marred game. Apparently, the Broad Street Bullies tried their best to thug it up. Too bad we missed it. Heck. We missed a good chunk of the second period that saw Sergei Samsonov and Marian Gaborik exchange goals 27 seconds apart. Both Lundqvist and Cam Ward were good keeping it a predictable lowscoring contest into the final stanza. In it, there was a Brandon Dubinsky sighting. True. He assisted on Gabby's league-leading 25th along but it was refreshing to see the enigmatic third-year Alaskan put a puck in the net thanks to some nifty passing from resurgent Michal Rozsival, Vinny Prospal and the Great Gabby. Dubi went backhand for what proved to be the winner.
Though he stopped all 13 his way en route to 32 altogether, none of them were very tough due to a solid defensive effort from our guys, who all came back. It was great to see the D and forwards in sync. Even Huggy Bear had a few decent shifts. The best aspect was our team continued attacking, getting 14 shots of their own on Ward, who kept his team afloat with a few sparklers. However, the Candy Canes couldn't find the equalizer. With Cam off for an extra attacker, Marc Staal dominated his shift, taking the puck away and then throwing it three quarters of the way down into the open net for a deserved goal that sealed it.
All in all, a well earned 'W' to make it a perfect 3-for-3 on the road. Now, the Blueshirts return home to host the Panthers tomorrow and the slumping Islanders the day after Christmas. Tomorrow will give a better indication of where they are as Florida is playing well. It's one of those swing games. Of course, Saturday will be magnified cause of the opponent. Think of it this way. Last week, the team looked dead. They've at least temporarily revived themselves.
BONY 3 Stars:
3rd Star-Brandon Dubinsky/Marian Gaborik, NYR (2-2-4, +5, 9 SOG)
2nd Star-Michal Rozsival, NYR (assist, 4 hits, 4 blocked shots, +2 in 24:31)
1st Star-Marc Staal, NYR (ENG, 2 SOG, takeaway, blocked shot, +3 in 24:47)