by Patrick Hoffman on 12/23/11 at 12:57 AM ET
That is exactly what the New York Rangers did tonight in their 4-2 win over the New York Islanders.
The team got strong performances from the likes of Marian Gaborik (1 goal), Brandon Dubinsky (1 goal and 1 assist), Anton Stralman (2 assists), and netminder Martin Biron (24 saves on 26 shots). With the win, the team improved to 20-8-4 on the season to move within two points of the Eastern Conference-leading Philadelphia Flyers, who the team will take on tomorrow night at Madison Square Garden.
Believe it or not, it was important for the Blueshirts to win tonight’s tilt. This game could have easily been a “trap game” for the Rangers and one that they would somehow find a way to lose. Instead, the team played hard, battled to the end, showed that they have depth and picked up two important points in the standings.
The club also showed just how lucky they are to have a goaltender like Biron. Biron is one of the league’s best back-ups and because he has played so well this season (7-1, 1.84 goals against average, .933 save percentage and 1 shutout), it gives team head coach John Tortorella to rest starting netminder Henrik Lundqvist more, which will be extremely important come April.
It was also nice to see Rangers’ defenseman Stu Bickel get into two fights and pick-up another assist. In two NHL games, Bickel has 2 assists for 2 points, is a +2 and has 11 penalty minutes. Pretty good if he is on your fantasy hockey roster, eh?
Luckily for the Rangers, they will get to face this same Islanders’ hockey club on Monday night at MSG. The Rangers are now 2-1 against the Islanders this season and continue to dominate the team from Long Island on Garden ice.
Tomorrow night’s game against the Flyers will be a much tougher test for the Rangers. The Flyers are first in the Conference and second in the entire National Hockey League and are certainly going to make it difficult for the Rangers in their pre-Winter Classic match.
If the Rangers continue to play the way they have been during their recent three-game winning streak, consecutive win number four does not seem out of reach if they continue to get the job done.
Filed in: | Goal Line Report | Permalink
Tags: anton+stralman, brandon+dubinsky, henrik+lundqvist, john+tortorella, marian+gaborik, martin+biron, new+york+islanders, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+flyers, stu+bickel, winter+classic
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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.