by Patrick Hoffman on 10/25/08 at 11:30 AM ET
Friday night proved to be a nice homecoming for Nikolai Zherdev as he picked up a goal and two assists in his team’s 3-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets.
In 10 games with the Blueshirts, Zherdev has shown Ranger fans and the rest of the league that when he wants to, he can be a complete player, something he never was in Ohio. He works hard, puts pucks to the net, gets back on defense, plays on the power play and does everything that he is asked to do.
“He’s been a great player for us this year, so far, and hopefully he can keep going,” Henrik Lundqvist told the team’s web site after the team’s victory on Friday night.
So far, Zherdev has 8 points (three goals and five assists), good for fourth on the team behind the likes of Scott Gomez, Aaron Voros and Brandon Dubinsky. Zherdev is one of the main reasons why Voros and Dubinsky are leading their club in points as they were Zherdev’s linemates for much of the beginning of the season.
“He’s so skilled,” Lundqvist said of Zherdev. “Not only does he score big goals, but he’s a great passer.”
On Broadway, Rangers’ head coach Tom Renney is going to give Zherdev every opportunity to excel because he’s a big believer in the 23-year-old. More importantly, Renney will put him with guys that will enable him to generate scoring opportunities whether it’s through getting shots to the net or finding the open man.
It may still be just 10 games into the season but 8 points for the Rangers’ newcomer certainly isn’t a bad start. Now, Ranger fans will be waiting to see how consistent he can be throughout the course of the next 71 games.Other Notes
- Renney was hurt last night when he took Columbus’s Rotislav Klesla’s stick to the head. Renney would end up watching the rest of his team’s victory from the locker room.
“I wasn’t great there for a while, but I feel good now,” Renney told the team’s web site after the game. “I was able to watch it in the locker room, and it was a good job by us.”
- Rangers’ goaltender Henrik Lundqvist turned in another solid performance as he stopped 25 Blue Jacket shots. He was especially good when he stop Blue Jackets’ superstar Rick Nash on a breakaway in the second period.
“I was surprised he went low (with the shot) because he usually goes high with it,” Lundqvist said after the game. “It was pretty fast, but I got down low and got it.”
- Tonight, the Rangers welcome the 5-2-1 Pittsburgh Penguins to Madison Square Garden. It will be interesting to see if Renney juggles the lines or keeps what he used (at least when he was behind the bench) last night.
That’s all for now folks. I hope you all enjoy “NHL Super Saturday.”
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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.