The Rangers may have put an end to the could of, would of, should of as they completely routed the Maple Leafs before a stunned crowd at the Air Canada Centre. The Rangers scored five power play goals including two by Petr Prucha (3,4) and one each by Jagr (10), Shanahan (13) and Straka (7). The lone five on five goal was by Blair Betts, his second, as the fourth line continued their outstanding play.
Jaromir Jagr had a four point game, picking up three assists. It was the first time this season he had a four point game. Jagr now has 33 points for the season, tying him with Scott Gomez who picked up an assist and now has an eleven game point streak, the highest of his career. Jagr's goal was the game winner and he now has 111 game winners in his career putting him in sole possession of third place, seven behind Phil Esposito and ten behind Gordie Howe. Two of the Rangers power play goals were on the five on three as the Maple Leafs completely self destructed. Their one goal was scored by Darcy Tucker to break the shutout.
The recipient of this outburst was Steve Valiquette, who is now 2-2-1 this year and both wins against Toronto at Toronto in front of his mom and dad. This time his dad had the courage to stick it out the whole game. So the Rangers have now won two straight after going 2-6-2 and now are one point behind the Devils, who lost to the Islanders tonight, for the lead in the Atlantic Division. Of course they are only seven points ahead of the 13th place team in the Division. But they seem to have found their offense.
Tomorrow night against Montreal at the Garden will be the second leg of a five game Canadian stretch which then goes on the road to Calgary, Vancouver and Edmonton. The Rangers may, I did say may, be hitting their stride as the slumbering giant, Jaromir Jagr seems to be awakening and Petr Prucha may be ready to break out, especially on the power play. All systems are go and a good stretch here is key to maintaining their position in their toughest road trip of the season.
note: nhl.tv allows you to replay each goal and some of the saves from the links on the righthand side of the video window