|Original Image Credit: Pat Leonard of New York Daily News|
The Rangers beat the Ducks tonight by a final score of 2-1 in a shootout tonight. Henrik Lundqvist stopped 2 of 3 shootout attempts and the Rangers' shootout goals came from Erik Christensen and Marian Gaborik on a dazzling move that was the game-winner (Brad Richards was the other shooter, unsuccessful on his attempt). If you haven't seen Gaby's goal that won the shootout for the Rangers, it's definitely worth checking out.
Click below to read more on the game.
The Rangers' lone goal of the game came courtesy of Jeff Woywitka, who was set up on a beautiful cross-ice pass from Marian Gaborik. Woywitka, who was awarded the Broadway hat tonight, now has a goal and an assist in his last two games. He had two goals in his last two years combined before this game, and only eight goals in 256 games before tonight. It's always nice to get contribution from the lower-tier guys who you don't expect to get any offense from.
Marian Gaborik, of course, has been notoriously bad in the shootout. But with Wojtek Wolski unable to participate due to injury (more on him in a bit), John Tortorella decided to go with Marian Gaborik as the third shooter after Christensen and Richards. I Tweeted right before the shootout lineup was announced that I wanted Gaby in there tonight. From start to finish he just looked to be on a mission that he wouldn't be denied. He had a game-high seven shots on goal, including two or three others that just went wide, an assist on the Rangers' only goal of the game and was a plus-1 rating tonight. Every time he touched the puck it looked like he was going to do something special with it. He was creating chances, he wasn't afraid to shoot and he made all of his teammates better tonight. So far this season Gaborik has pretty much returned to form from his first season as a Ranger, which is exactly what I predicted before the season began. The ironic part of that, of course, is the fact that when I said that he'd have a bounce back year I thought it would be because of Brad Richards, who now is no longer playing on Gaby's line. Gaborik has five goals and four assists for nine points so far this season, and he could easily have more goals from tonight alone with a little luck.
Speaking of Brad Richards, although he didn't have a point tonight, I thought he was still very noticeable throughout the night. The power play unit didn't score, but I gotta tell you it's been years since I saw puck movement like the Rangers displayed tonight. Richards was given the puck every time the Rangers entered the offensive zone and did a great job of quarterbacking the power play. The Rangers, quite frankly, missed on numerous opportunities to end this game before the shootout. There were passes that just missed, shots that just missed, pucks that hopped over guys' sticks - they just quite simply couldn't score. Jonas Hiller deserves a lot of credit for the three or four outstanding glove saves he made throughout the night. Coming off a terrible performance against Washington, he rebounded nicely tonight.
Now onto Wolski - the Rangers winger re-aggravated the same groin injury that caused him to miss seven of the team's first 11 games of the season. He seemed to tweak something in the first period and never returned after that. John Tortorella said after the game that he'll be reevaluated tomorrow before determining whether or not he'll be able to play in the Rangers' next game. I actually thought Wolski had played very well in his last two or three games since he was moved up to Gaborik's line, so it would definitely be a blow if the Rangers were to lose him again for an extended period of time. If Wolski does miss time, this would likely be the opening Sean Avery needs to reinsert himself into the lineup.
Andrew Gross reported after the game that the Rangers still have not confirmed the signing of Anton Stralman, by the way, even though his agent confirmed he had come to terms with the Rangers earlier. Not sure what the delay is, but apparently Stralman is still in Sweden. Maybe the Rangers want him to fly to the US and take his physical before officially announcing anything.
Some other notes from the game: Henrik Lundqvist made 27 saves and was only beaten on a perfect shot from Bobby Ryan in the second period...Brad Richards led all Rangers skaters with 26:58 of ice time...Andre Deveaux fought George Parros immediately after the Rangers scored their first goal and handled himself very well...tonight was Brian Boyle's 200th career NHL game.
You can view the full boxscore here.