by Patrick Hoffman on 11/13/08 at 12:00 AM ET
It took a period (the first period of the game) of undisciplined play, stupid penalties, being outshot 13-5 and outscored 1-0 to awaken the New York Rangers.
The second period began and it was as if a new team was on the ice and this team dominated the New Jersey Devils by scoring four goals on 20 shots, cashing in on the power play and getting back to playing defense the way they know how, all en route to a 5-2 victory.
Folks, the Blueshirts got extremely lucky in the first period and the only reason they escaped down by a goal was due to the play of their all-world netminder Henrik Lundqvist, who extended his record to 14-2-4 against the Devils with a goals against of under 2.00.
It was Lundqvist’s goaltending that propelled the Rangers into the second period and gave them a chance to get back in the game and boy did they ever as Michal Rozsival, Chris Drury, Lauri Korpikoski (his first NHL regular season goal) and Nikolai Zherdev all scored goals. The team buried Devils’ netminder Kevin Weekes with shots from all angles and made life extremely tough for both him and his defenders.
This would be the theme for the rest of the game as the Rangers peppered Devils’ backup goaltender Scott Clemenssen with 17 shots in the the third period as only Zherdev would break through with his seventh of the season.
Is it me or does Zherdev always want the puck? He wants to pick it up in the defensive zone. He wants to rush it through the neutral zone and he wants it down low in the offensive zone. It’s safe to say that the former Blue Jacket is enjoying life on Broadway and that his potential to be a superstar in New York is growing every game.
Drury also looks to be on a hot streak as he has five goals in his last four games, giving him a share of the team lead with Zherdev.
Defenseman Dan Girardi also continues to pile up the points as he picked up two assists, giving him 12 on the season and 14 points through the team’s first 19 games.
At 12-5-2, there is a lot to smile about if you’re a Ranger fan. But remember, as good as things are, they can go south just as quickly.
Hopefully, the Blueshirts know this and will continue to do what they need to do to win hockey games.
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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.