After a blizzard pounded the New York City area over the last 36 hours the New York Rangers unleashed a blizzard of their own by dumping a whopping 52 shots on net and scoring 7 times in their 7-2 victory of the rival Islanders this evening. As difficult as it was to move around the city today it was that easy for the Rangers to do nearly whatever they wanted in the Islanders zone. The offense was sparked early by an unlikely candidate in the often scratched Matt Gilroy who scored his first of the season and would make me look smart for saying just this afternoon that he has done everything to earn a legit shot at getting a regular spot on the defense core. Gilroy would only help his cause and my case by adding another goal in the second. The goals for Gilroy were his first in 64 games and only his 5th and 6th in 91 career games. Gilroy would get some help from his friends as Marian Gaborik, Brian Boyle, Brandon Dubinsky, Ruslan Fedotenko and finally Derek Stepan would get in on the act. The scariest part is if not for some phenomenal work from Dwayne Roloson it could have been a lot bigger score.
The first period saw the Rangers start fast as just 44 seconds into the game Matt Gilroy would fire a shot from the right point that would deflect off of Islander Rob Schremp and in to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead. The Rangers would continue to have good puck possession but fail to get the second goal and then the Islanders on a counter would score on a shot from Rob Schremp that Henrik Lundqvist has got to stop at 7:51 of the period.
The negative play would continue just 1:52 later as an overall team breakdown would lead the Islanders taking a 2-1 lead when the Islanders would break down 3-on-2 and after a failed pass attempt by P.A. Parenteau would go to Matt Moulson, Parenteau would score on the rebound but the failure of the forwards to backcheck left him wide open.
The Rangers would have their share of chances in trying to tie the game, but it would not be until 19:09 of the first where they would finally strike. On the shift Mats Zuccarello would make a beautiful feed to Chris Drury in front but he could not convert, but eventually the puck would work back to the point and Marc Staal would pinch down and give a beautiful feed through the seem to Marian Gaborik for the one-timer to tie the score at 2-2. The Rangers would have chances late in the period for Drury hitting the post and Prust missing the net, but the period would end 2-2 with the shots at 18-12.
The Rangers would dominate the second period from start to finish but for a while Dwayne Roloson had their number and it had the feeling of one of those game that could go the other way. At 12:08 of the period Matt Gilroy would change all that and start the floodgates opening as he would drive into the Rangers zone and with no hesitation let go of a quick shot that deflected off Andy MacDonald and in to make it 3-2.
The Rangers would strike again late in the period as at 18:21 Brian Boyle would beat Dwayne Roloson short side hide with a backhander that Roloson is supposed to save and as good as he was for the first 30 minutes that goal had the makings of a back-breaker for his club. At the end of two the Rangers were now up 4-2 and outshooting the Islanders 36-16 overall.
After killing of an Artem Anisimov early penalty in the third the Rangers would keep the throttle down and blow it open and it would be Anisimov’s hard work behind the Isles net that would lead to Brandon Dubinsky scoring his 15th goal of the season when he lifted the puck over Rollie to make it 5-2 4:14 in.
At 9:05 in typical Fedotenko-Boyle-Prust fashion they would get a grinding type goal for Fedotenko to make it 6-2. The Rangers would cap the scoring at 10:34 when Derek Stepan scored his 11th of the season and the Rangers second power play goal of the evening.
- Marian Gaborik was much more involved tonight as he took the play to the net, fought for the puck and was much more decisive, especially on the power play
- Zuccarello was not quite as noticeable on a shift to shift basis tonight but again proved he belonged and got his first NHL point.
- Derek Stepan scored in his fourth straight game and now has 11 goals on the season only pushing him higher in the Calder conversation
- Brandon Dubinsky played another very involved game tonight, which was great to see with Gaborik back in there.
- Artem Anisimov played another excellent game as he was a force to be reckoned with in the offensive zone and love that he was around the crease all night and not drifted as he sometimes does
- Chris Drury did not score a goal, but he was in the right spot on numerous occasions and eventually one has to go
- Brian Boyle is giving Dubinsky a run for his money as the MVP of the club for the half way mark
- Matt Gilroy has earned more games and if Del Zotto is to come back in it should be at the expense of Eminger right now.
- Mike Sauer had another quietly effective game as usual