Sunday, December 11, 2011

Keep Haggin' away

The Rangers got back in the win column last night with a 4-1 win at Buffalo. They were sparked by Swede rookie Carl Hagelin, whose two goals from identical spots were enough to halt a two-game winless streak (0-1-1). The 23-year old former Wolverine made the most of his shifts by notching his first NHL career shorthanded goal and first ever two-goal game. Not bad for the former sixth rounder who more and more looks like he belongs.

Since being recalled along with partner in crime John Mitchell, Hags has combined with Mitch and Brian Boyle to form a solid energy line. Hags' speed and energy certainly has been an asset. John Tortorella has shown enough confidence already to give Hagelin additional responsibility on the PK. No small task. It already paid dividends in Western New York. Along with a yeoman effort from captain Ryan Callahan, who scored a highlight reel shorthanded goal on struggling Jhonas Enroth, Hags beat the Sabre rookie from the left circle twice with essentially cardinal copies. Both goals were top shelf past Enroth's glove. The Buffalo backup who was so good at the beginning of the season has won once over the past eight starts. Yesterday, he allowed a bad goal to Callahan, who somehow got off a shot while falling after spinning around Christian Ehrhoff. The puck went right through the wickets for a momentum turning goal.

Despite being even in shots (33-33) and creating several opportunities, Buffalo only mustered one past ex-starter Martin Biron, who was stellar. The only goal he permitted was to Thomas Vanek, who beat him five-hole on a nice pass from captain Jason Pominville that tied the game in the second. However, an unreal individual effort from Captain Cally resulted in a huge go-ahead shorty. He somehow spun around Ehrhoff and surprised Enroth with his 12th. He trails leading sniper Marian Gaborik by two with Gabby also netting his 14th on a late power play in the third that iced it.

Steve Eminger and Mike Del Zotto each had two helpers in the win. Brandon Dubinsky was elevated to the second line with Brad Richards and Callahan with Tortorella trying to get him going. He has one goal and 11 assists so far.

The Blueshirts have a quick turnaround tonight with the surprising Panthers coming in for a 7:30 tilt at MSG. Dale Talloon's Hawks South is working out with Kris Versteeg and Brian Campbell looking like All-Stars alongside Tomas Fleischmann and holdover Stephen Weiss. In the first meeting, Florida blanked the Rangers with their superior speed winning out. The Rangers have had issues against fast teams with Toronto beating them twice and the Bolts exacting revenge in comeback fashion in what's now become Artie Gate. It should be interesting to see if our guys adjust against the Southeast division leader.

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