by Patrick Hoffman on 10/15/09 at 01:23 PM ET
Despite being outplayed by a hungry and fast Los Angeles Kings hockey club last night at Madison Square Garden, the New York Rangers were once again able to come away with two points in a 4-2 victory.
If this was last season, I believe that they would have lost the game. They would have trouble putting the puck in the net, generating offense, and playing smart hockey. This season, however, head coach John Tortorella has them playing well as a cohesive unit and bearing down when things are not going their way in a game.
One of the main reasons why the team won last night was because of their goaltender Henrik Lundqvist. He had two deflections beat him for goals but other than that, he was terrific. This team will go only as far as he can take them and so far throughout his young career, Lundqvist has shown what he can do for his hockey club.
How about that goal by Gaborik? That is something the team has been missing since Jaromir Jagr - a guy who can snipe the puck in the net and generate offense in any situation. He is currently tied for the team lead in points with 10 (6g, 4a) with Vinny Prospal (3g, 7a).
Speaking of Prospal, I’ve been really impressed with his play thus far. He works hard, he puts the puck on net, he crashes the net for rebounds (the team’s second goal of the game last night) and he gets back on defense - something he most definitely learned under Torts while in Tampa Bay.
Ales Kotalik is also quietly having a good season with 7 points (3g, 4a) and has been most noticeable on the power play, where he has two goals already. He has a great shot and has a nose for the puck. Tortorella will have to find guys for him to play with if he wants to see even more offense from him.
This season is young but with a record of 6-1, there is not too much to be unhappy about these days.
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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.