Since his rookie season, Henrik Lundqvist has had to be the best player on the ice for the Rangers.
Victories relied on him as the low-scoring, tight-checking system of former Head Coach Tom Renney left little room for error by the goaltender. However, under the new regime of John Tortorella, there is a different expectation upon the Swedish netminder: get ready because it's going to come at you from all angles.
While this is a crude assesment of a more complex system, Tortorella stresses puck pressure and speed, a riskier system than has been seen on the Garden ice in quite some time.
So while Lundqvist gets more goal support, he also sees more 2-on-1, 3-on-2, and breakaway opportunities.
To this point, he's been up for the challenge.
And as several players and the head coach alluded to last night, the Rangers would not have won their sixth straight if it wasn't for "Hank."
It's the games you win when you're not at your best and last night exemplified that. The Rangers looked a little sluggish, a little disjointed, and not as defensively sound as in the past several games.
However, their renovated power play, stellar goaltending, and ability to finish kept them in the game.
Marian Gaborik recorded another goal, his sixth of the season, and the defense continued to chip in as Mike DelZotto recorded two assists while Dan Girardi and Michael Rozsival each recorded one.
Veteran Vinny Prospal has also continued to excel, as he notched two goals on the night, the second being the 200th of his NHL career. Prospal has been a pleasant surprise for the Blueshirts as he has been smart away from the puck as well as contributing offensively. He has also been a veteran presence in the locker room.
The Rangers are in Toronto on Saturday night before returning home Monday against San Jose.