Sunday, January 31, 2010

Postgame Reactions - Rangers at Avalanche 1/31

Rangers 3, Avalanche 1
  • First of all, congratulations to Chad Johnson on his first career NHL victory.  He still has a lot of room to grow in controlling his rebounds, but he was good enough tonight and almost earned a shutout to boot.
  • Second, congratulations to Marian Gaborik on his 10th career hat trick, this one being of the natural variety.  For as much as he's been slumping lately, Gaborik's game was ON tonight.  His first goal was a thing of beauty, beating Craig Anderson to the far post with a wrister.  The second was courteousy of a pretty no look pass from Vinny Prospal after Marc Staal pinched to keep the play alive.  And the third was a breakaway tally, beating Anderson 5-hole, after a nice defensive play by Staal and head man pass from Prospal.
  • Marc Staal was stellar tonight, and showed that he still has more room to grow.  He was a defensive stalwart, pinched effectively to keep plays alive, and helped create offense.  The next step for him is to do this with more consistency.
  • Vinny Prospal had his best game in a long time, and certainly since coming back from his knee surgery.
  • Christopher Higgins was very solid again, but this may have been his last game in Rangers blue...more on that later.
  • An illustration of how tight this Eastern Conference race is, the Rangers just jumped from 12th place into a tie for 6th place with their win tonight.  On a games played tiebreaker, the Rangers currently sit officially in 8th position.
  • Overall, tonight was a team effort: team defense (good backchecking by forwards), great penalty kill (6-for-6), team effort for the full 60 minutes.

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