by Patrick Hoffman on 03/31/12 at 12:13 AM ET
They may have already clinched a playoff spot and they may have somewhat of a tight grip on the top spot in both the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference but the New York Rangers are on a roll right now.
Tonight, the team won its 50th game of the year by beating the struggling Montreal Canadiens by a score of 4-1 at Madison Square Garden. The team got another strong performance out of both Marian Gaborik (1 goal and 1 assist) and Brad Richards (1 goal and 2 assists) while also getting the goaltending they needed from Henrik Lundqvist (19 saves on 20 shots).
Gaborik and Richards are on fire at the right time for their hockey club. Gaborik picked up his 39th goal of the season and added an assist while Richards added his 25th goal of the season as well as two assists.
It may have taken a long time for Gaborik and Richards to work well together on the same line but it just goes to show you that patience is everything in the NHL. Yes, Rangers’ head coach John Tortorella broke the pair up earlier in the season but was smart enough to put them together later on when their games were both going strong.
Another Rangers’ player who is on fire, believe it or not, is defenseman Michael Del Zotto. Del Zotto picked-up 2 goals (his first 2-goal game of his career) and an assist and now has 10 goals and 31 assists for 41 points on the season.
While his defensive game still needs some work, Del Zotto has had a terrific bounce back season for the Blueshirts this year. He looks a lot more confident with the puck and his offensive game looks much like it did in his first season in the league back in 2009-10.
Rangers’ team captain Ryan Callahan, who won the Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award for the third time prior to the game, also had a strong game for his hockey club. He created several good scoring opportunities, blocked a few shots, threw the body, and forechecked like crazy.
The team’s power play is also starting to click on a more consistent basis. They picked-up two more power goals tonight (Richards and Del Zotto) and have now scored power play goals in nine of their last 11 games.
While it is easy to look towards the end of the regular season, the Rangers still have four games left to go in the regular season. As mentioned before in this blog, the Rangers should do what they can to go into the playoffs with momentum and even a winning streak as it could end up going a long way for the club.
The Blueshirts will look to extend their winning streak to five games on Sunday night when they take on the Boston Bruins, a team that they have not lost to this season.
Filed in: | Goal Line Report | Permalink
Tags: boston+bruins, brad+richards, henrik+lundqvist, john+tortorella, marian+gaborik, michael+del+zotto, montreal+canadiens, new+york+rangers, ryan+callahan, steven+mcdonald+extra+effort+award
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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.