by Patrick Hoffman on 01/23/13 at 10:37 PM ET
Sometimes, someone just needs to step up and put the puck in the net to help his club win a hockey game.
Tonight against the Boston Bruins, it was New York Rangers' forward Marian Gaborik who scored an overtime goal to give himself a hat trick (14th of his career) and more importantly, his team, a 4-3 victory. These were two points that Rangers' badly needed and Gaborik made it happen.
In overtime, Bruins' defenseman Andrew Ference struggled with a bouncing puck at that point and once Gaborik saw that, he got the puck and took off for the races. He went in on Bruins' netminder Tuukka Rask and was stopped on the first shot but was able to bat the rebound down and into the net to give his team their first win of the season.
Coming into tonight's tilt, Gaborik had been quiet offensively. He had not generated that many scoring chances, did not have too many shots on goal and just did not look like the Gaborik from last season.
Gaborik changed that persona tonight and fueled the team offensively from the get go. One main reason for that could be because he was placed on a line with Rick Nash and Brad Richards.
On his first goal of the night, Gaborik took a great feed from Nash, who took a nice tap pass from Richards, and put it in from almost near the goal line by flipping it over Rask. On that play, Gaborik showed great patience and waited for Rask to fully commit himself before flipping the puck in the net.
His second goal of the night involved great hand-eye coordination. Blueshirts' defenseman put a puck on net from the point that was stopped by Rask but Gaborik was able to knock the rebound down with his stick and into the net.
While it was great to see Gaborik dominate the game offensively, this game should have never gotten to overtime. The Blueshirts had a 3-2 lead late in the third period until Bruins' power forward Nathan Horton scored with just over five minutes to go in the period on a shot that Rangers' netminder Henrik Lundqvist should have had.
The Rangers also had a 5-on-3 opportunity in the third period to try and increase the lead but much like last season with the man advantage, the team could not cash in. If the Rangers want to have more success this season, the power play is something that they must continue to work on.
Blueshirts' newcomer Taylor Pyatt had another good game. He scored his second goal of the season by working hard down low in the second period and putting a backhand goal past Rask after Rask stopped the initial shot by Derek Stepan.
Lundqvist stopped 26 of 29 shots in picking-up his first victory of the season. With that said, this is the third straight game in which Lundqvist has allowed at least three goals. Obviously, all the goals are not his fault but he needs to do a better job of following the puck and controlling his rebounds.
The Blueshirts cannot affoard to gloat about this victory as they will be back it tomorrow night in Philadelphia to take on the 0-3 Philadelphia Flyers. The Flyers need a win so expect them to play the Blueshirts twice and to do everything they can to knock the team off of their game.
If the Rangers can play like they did tonight and do a better job of clearing the front of the net and taking bad penalties, the team could put themselves in good position to even up their record heading into Saturday night's tilt at MSG against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Filed in: | Goal Line Report | Permalink
Tags: andrew+ference, boston+bruins, brad+richards, derek+stepan, henrik+lundqvist, marian+gaborik, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+flyers, rick+nash, taylor+pyatt, toronto+maple+leafs, tuukka+rask
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Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.
Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.
For questions, comments and hip checks, feel free to e-mail Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org.