Saturday, March 31, 2012

Del Zotto's two goals push Rangers to fourth straight win

I didn't see any of tonight's game due to work. But from the sound of it, our team took care of business with a 4-1 home win over Original Six rival Montreal. Even if they rank last in the conference, it always is sweet to beat them because they really own us up north. And when I saw the score update via texts, it was nice to see the Rangers go from 1, 2 to 4 up. For once, there was an easy win and at this time of year, that's never bad. Especially with what's on the horizon.

Mike Del Zotto tallied twice for No.'s 9 and 10, following up a multi-point effort in our comeback 'W' over Winnipeg. I'm always pining for Del Zotto to shoot the puck more. Maybe that game gave him confidence, which certainly bodes well. Let's face it. Flaws aside, the third-year blueliner is by far our most skilled and we need him to have a good postseason. Too bad I didn't get to see it. At least Dad did live as he went to MSG.

Even with that, it always bring a smile to my face when our team has success while I'm busting it. Makes my shift go easier. And hell. It improved leaps and bounds once the game started, which had nothing to do with the hockey. Maybe the hockey gods were lending me a helping hand. In any event, a 4-1 triumph over the Habs made it four straight. Even if the previous three all on the road didn't come easy, it definitely had to give the Blueshirts a lift. You take it anyway you can. To think our club now has 50 wins is kinda sick. But it still is Bettman induced even if they're not a shootout team. All the better.

Combined with the Islanders' sweep of the Penguins, who finally got back on track tonight with a damaging 5-3 win at Buffalo, the Rangers are in great position to finish atop the East and claim home ice. Their win also put them temporarily ahead of the Blues for the league's top spot. It still boggles the mind how not the most talented team has 107 points. Of course, you could argue that St. Louis is a cardinal copy out West and they trail us by one with four left. Vancouver also won over Dallas which puts them at 105.

Marian Gaborik scored his team best 39th and also set up another in the win. Brad Richards notched his 25th on the power play and Del Zotto also had a helper for a three point outing. That effort put him over 40 points for the first time in his career. MDZ now is 10-31-41 over 73 games. Three points better than his rookie season in '09-10. A great turnaround after last year which saw him demoted. Del Zotto had his first power play goal this year. Hard to fathom. But he is a pass oriented blueliner who always looks to find teammates. Sometimes, he needs to be more selfish. So, the two goal night is great. Derek Stepan added two assists and Carl Hagelin ended a five-game pointless streak with a helper.

With recent strong outings from Brian Boyle and Ruslan Fedotenko, it's a plus to see our supporting cast getting involved. The Rangers are a T-E-A-M in every sense of the word. That's the only way they'll have success. Henrik Lundqvist made 19 saves in his eighth consecutive start. The only question is when might John Tortorella give him a day off or is he going for it all. He is playing better with the heavier workload not unlike Marty Brodeur across the Hudson. Let's just hope he saves the best for last like another former Ranger hero. 

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