There were a lot of surprises at the Garden today. First, the Rangers wore their white road jerseys. Then Marian Gaborik returned to the lineup. Then the coach did not scratch Avery, but inserted him as shotgun with Gaborik. Ryan Callahan scored four goals and Henrik Lundqvist scored his ninth shutout of the year and the 33rd of his career. The biggest surprise of all. A 7-0 rout of the Flyers, their first win over Philadelphia this year.
The Rangers outshot the Flyers, 36-24. While the Flyers outhit the Rangers 33-28, the Rangers gave no quarter. They pushed and shoved every time the Flyers pushed and shoved. They stood up for each other. When Gaborik was being hassled in front of the net, the other four Rangers rushed to his side. It was that kind of a game.
You have to wonder how a team could wipe out the number one team with such ease one night and lose the previous four without putting up much of a fight. Remember the two big shutout blowouts of the Washington Caps? However, there were too many maddening losses at home. This was only their 15 home win. They have 20 wins on the road. Hence the white road jerseys.
While Avery got only 8:08, Gabby got 14:28, 10:25 at even strength. But the message was out there. Gaborik must be protected. The Rangers gave themselves a little breathing room by moving three points up on 8th place Carolina and four on Buffalo. The bad news is Carolina has two games in hand and Buffalo has four.
So we go West for two big games, they are all big now, and are there any other surprises in store for us? We shall see.
Buffalo will be a big threat all the way. The team changed owners in February. The new owner, Terry Pegula, brings a new attitude to the Sabres organization. When was the last time that an NHL owner "fought back tears" at a press conference?
Sabres’ Job of No. 1 Fan Is Taken --
Pegula fought back tears at his introductory news conference Tuesday when he noticed members of the 1974-75 Sabres team in attendance, especially the man he called “my hero,” the Hall of Famer Gilbert Perreault...
Wall Street Journal:
In a Rarity, a North American Leads the Rangers in Points --
With his 42 points, Brandon Dubinsky leads the New York Rangers in scoring this season. Mr. Dubinsky is 6-foot-1 and 210 pounds, a swift skater and hard worker with an accurate shot, and at 24, in his fourth season, he's entering the prime of his career. So his place atop the Rangers' stat sheet shouldn't necessarily be an oddity. Except it is. Because of where he was born...
Mike Richards vs. Brandon Dubinsky --
Dubinsky wins (87.65%), 6.0 rating
Scotty Hockey had some spot-on thoughts regarding Richards dropping gloves with Dubi:
It was a nice contrast to the Flyers captain, who cowardly picked a fight with Dubinsky and then held on for dear life. Nothing says toughness like starting with a guy while wearing a visor. When the leader pulls a Richie Pilon, there is no way the team is going to recover...