Secondary scoring: Check.
Contributions from the defense: Check.
Puck movement on the power play: Check.
Victory at home: Check.
It was nearly a perfect night in New York as the Rangers defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets 7 - 4 in their final home game before the Thanksgiving holiday.
The crisp city air wasn't the only chilling thing in the city.
The Rangers began the game ice-cold, allowing the Blue Jackets to gain a two goal lead midway through the first period. It seemed like another night in which the Rangers would have to be playing catch-up due to some poor defensive coverage down low.
Derek MacKenzie opened the scoring after Matt Gilroy got out-muscled in the corner by Jared Boll.
Boll, who was one of the lone factors for Columbus in the game, struck again, this time scoring a goal of his own.
That's when Head Coach John Tortorella took over.
Rather than a tirade-filled timeout, Tortorella was very concise in rallying his team.
“It was good to have a break, that is for sure," said goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, who finished with 26 saves.
Scorer Marian Gaborik took that break and got the Rangers back into the game, scoring a one-timer in the slot off a pin-point pass from Vinny Prospal from behind the net.
The goal began a major scoring effort that ultimately iced the Blue Jackets.
think the first goal was huge," said Lundqvist. "To get that in the first period and not go
in here trailing 3-0. We needed some positive energy and we got that from
#10 (Marian Gaborik). After that, you could see how we got confidence.”
That goal proved to be the turning point of the game, and possibly the Rangers' slump, as they went on to score another six straight goals.
Gaborik and Wade Redden connected on a tip-in goal by Artem Anisimov to tie the game two minutes later. Then, with Hall of Fame defenseman Brian Leetch in attendance, Mike Del Zotto saw a lane from the neutral zone and skated in, rifling a wrist shot to the far side on Columbus goaltender Mathieu Garon, reminiscent of Leetch's many goals on Broadway.
The Rangers took the 3 - 2 lead into the first intermission, but continued the scoring prowess in the second, with three goals early on in a span of 1:11.
Sean Avery began the on-slaught with back-to-back goals after a 16 game drought. His first was a sneaky wrap around play on the power play that needed a goal review to confirm what the solo-celebrating Avery already knew.
Then, a few moments later, he took a 2-on-1 pass from Gaborikand buried it in the short side.
And Gaborik wasn't finished.
Chris Higgins forced a turnover at the offensive blueline and found Gaborik alone in the slot. The Slovakian sniper outlasted now-goalie Steve Mason for the Rangers' sixth goal.
P.A. Parenteau would center a pass along the boards near the red line to Matt Gilroy who went in on a breakaway to finish the Rangers scoring.
Columbus added a couple goals in the third, but never threatened the rest of the game.
“The biggest thing was coming back from a two goal
deficit," said Avery. "I think regardless of what the score was, coming back and winning a
game after you’re losing 2-0 is big for a team that has been struggling. I hope
it puts everybody around here in a good mood and the guys can go to Florida
just feeling good and be able to not clench the stick as hard and just make
While the team effort was more apparent, credit still must go to the go-to guy, Gaborik who finished with two goals and two assists for four points.
“We had a good forecheck and we kept playing in their
zone which was important," said Gaborik. "Our defensive side of the game was good. We’re
talking about having the third guy coming back and being responsible
defensively and I think we did that. It has to carry over on the road. We
haven’t had a long trip in a while so we have to build on this and just go from
The Rangers head to Florida with a re-match against the Florida Panthers tomorrow night and a contest in Tampa Bay on Friday.
For more on last night's game including postgame quotes, player reactions, and Tortorella's postgame press conference, visit BlueshirtBulletinPlus.com.
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