Chemistry Is a Fickle BeastMarch 18, 2011, by
My criticisms of Erik Christensen are well documented. I stand by my statements, that if he is the Rangers top line center, then this team will not be successful. Skilled as he is, he simply has not been consistent enough to warrant a top line spot on this roster. However, for whatever reason it is, he is the glue on the Marian Gaborik-Vinny Prospal line that makes the two leading scorers from last year stick.
It’s a good thing that Christensen seems to get both Prospal and Gaborik going, because the other three lines on the Rangers are not only good, but they have great chemistry. As important as Gaborik’s success is to the success of the Rangers, it was not worth the sacrifice of breaking up the other lines to try and jump start the Slovakian star. It’s something that can’t be explained, but Christensen seems to work with Prospal and Gaborik, which makes the Rangers a dangerous team if the make the playoffs.
A Prospal-Christensen-Gaborik line that generates a goal a game will draw top defenders to it. That leaves second tier defenseman for the Brandon Dubinsky-Artem Anisimov-Ryan Callahan line, and third tier defensemen for the Wojtek Wolski-Derek Stepan-Mats Zuccarello line. As those lines face lesser quality defensemen, they will start generating their own scoring chances. The Rangers depth is incredible, and for the first time this season, seem to be getting primary scoring from the Gaborik line in addition to their secondary and tertiary scoring.
The primary scoring, when combined with depth, great defense, and Henrik Lundqvist, makes the Rangers a force to be reckoned with come playoff time. Sure, the Rangers might not be able to match up with the Flyers just yet, but any team with The King in net makes them a dangerous squad. Washington learned that a few years ago. If the Rangers get clicking on all cylinders, they can make a deep run. However, that depends on the chemistry between Christensen, Prospal, and Gaborik, and if it lasts through April/May.