Sunday, November 14, 2010

Gaborik hat trick steamrolls Renney Oilers

Marian Gaborik dekes Nikolai Khabibulin on a breakaway for his second goal. His 11th career hat trick led the Rangers past the Oilers 8-2 for their second straight win.

Marian Gaborik's back. If the previous game didn't produce any results, the Big Ticket made sure everyone got their money's worth, posting a hat trick in leading the Rangers past former coach Tom Renney's Oilers 8-2 on Kids' Day at MSG. His first three goals in Game No.5 gave him his second hat trick as a Ranger and 11th career.

You want to go out there, work hard and be on top of your game. It is definitely good to go out there, score and get one under your belt,” Gabby said after his line with Alex Frolov and Erik Christensen dominated- combining for five goals, six assists with each forward finishing plus-five (+15).
Gaborik and his linemates went to work early with the trio working the puck behind the net until No.10 came out and jammed it past Nikolai Khabibulin at 1:35. While leading in shots 7-4, the Blueshirts killed off a pair of Oiler power plays, holding the 1-0 lead into the locker room. Before they could catch their breath, it was the rebuilding Oilers who grabbed the momentum, scoring twice in a 28-second span. Ryan Jones banged home a Jordan Eberle rebound past Martin Biron 2:45 into the second. On the next shift, Shawn Horcoff's wrister from beyond the right faceoff circle fooled Biron, suddenly steering Edmonton ahead 2-1.

I felt like I was in the right place at the right time (on Horcoff’s goal), but I got handcuffed on the shot,” the veteran backup noted after settling down to make 19 saves in his second consecutive start and first ever win over Edmonton. “But, to me, the most important thing is how you respond to that. And fortunately I did not have to respond too much, the guys responded for me which gave me the chance to just settle in.

That they did. Less than four minutes later, Christensen sprung Gaborik on a breakaway. The crafty Slovak beat Khabibulin with a forehand deke before banging into the left post. Teammates and fans breathed a sigh of relief as he was fine. With the game knotted, Brian Boyle again came through. Off an Edmonton turnover forced by Brandon Prust, he slid the puck to Ruslan Fedotenko who came in with Boyle two-on-one. Fedotenko dished across for Boyle who buried his career best eighth only 25 seconds later to give the Rangers the lead for good. Half of Boyle's output have come over the past five games.

Alex Frolov celebrates his first goal of two finally ending a 10-game drought.

It would only get worse for Renney's new club. Less than six minutes later, Artem Anisimov stayed hot when a Derek Stepan centering feed was redirected by his right skate, increasing to 4-2. Sean Avery and Stepan kept the play alive following a sloppy Edmonton turnover with D-Step outmaneuvering an Oiler before setting up Anisimov's sixth. After a nine-game drought, the improving sophomore has three goals over the last two. His Russian comrade Frolov also finally got into the act in the waning seconds, making it a three-goal lead. The former King's struggles have been well documented. He entered having not scored since my brother's birthday (Oct.23 @ Bos). This time, a strong forecheck forced Edmonton into a mistake. Gaborik worked the puck to Christensen, who then perfectly set up Frolov for his first goal in 11 games. His third came with less than five ticks left.

It’s a great feeling to score, it takes some pressure off,” a pleased Frolov expressed after celebrating like a kid in a candy store. “It was a really good game for our line (Frolov, Christensen, and Gaborik) and now we have to build off this. It was a great two points for the team.
Following a pair of heavyweight bouts between Derek Boogaard and Steve MacIntyre, it turned ugly when Edmonton took exception to a clean Avery hit on Colin Fraser against the boards. During the momentous shift, his clean check wasn't met with open arms. Instead, Ladislav Smid immediately challenged him. But with a three-goal lead, Avery didn't seem eager to oblige. When Smid dropped the gloves with his visor still on, Avery surprised the defenseman with a quick right taking him down. As MSG went to break, chaos ensued with at least three Oilers getting off the bench to start a brawl. At one point, with a linesman escorting our resident bad boy out, Theo Peckham snapped and tried to chase him before being cut off, only escalating matters. Even Ryan Whitney wanted Avery. Zach Stortini took on Prust for 90 seconds along and Boyle and Peckham squared off. The ugliest aspect was when Fraser tugged at Brandon Dubinsky, who John Tortorella made sure to keep on the bench. Somehow, he got a misconduct. Remarkably, it sounds like the league won't hand out any suspensions. We'll see.

It’s a sucker punch, and I hope they look at it,” an irate Whitney said. “Smid asked him to fight. (Avery) was saying wait. Then Laddie turned around and all of a sudden he gets suckered. I don’t know what the league can do with that, but it’s pretty obvious.

"I thought it was pretty gutless,” added MacIntyre of the melee that saw five misconducts, four ejections along with nearly half the 124 penalty minutes (67 PIM) coming during the fracas.. “It just shows you what kind of guy he is. He’ll get his. Somebody who is bigger and tougher … he’ll get what’s coming.

The Rangers are greeted by lucky kids as they take the Garden ice on Kids' Day. They sent them home happy with an 8-2 win.

When the dust finally settled, Renney's former club responded by scoring three more goals- making it seven unanswered on a football Sunday. Another dreadful Edmonton giveaway led to Frolov scoring his second unassisted when he went high blocker on Khabibulin at 12:14. Forty-five seconds later, Stepan took advantage of another turnover quickly feeding an open Fedotenko for his third, increasing to 7-2. Matt Gilroy also notched an assist for his first point this season. The former Hobey Baker winner also was in on Anisimov's marker. He hasn't looked bad even getting a couple of shifts at forward.

By now, the question was would Gaborik or even Frolov get the hat trick? It didn't take long to answer when Frolov head-manned a flying Gabby who went to his bread and butter, firing low over the blocker as he had against Henrik Lundqvist for his fifth goal in St. Paul a couple of years ago.

"It wasn’t easy,” pointed out Biron of a wild game that saw him make one huge save denying Andrew Cogliano shorthanded in the second with it just a one-goal contest.

“We had a four-game homestand and lost the first two. This could have easily gone south really quickly, but we were able to salvage it with two big wins at the end. Now it’s for us to take that momentum and apply it to our road game which has been really good.”                                                                                                                                 

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