NYR 3, Carolina 1
Three strikes and you're out!!!.....or is that in? With three wins in a row Blueshirts fans are left scratching their heads wondering whether or not we can now once again celebrate our team. Soon-to-be-traded-or-benched Wade Redden (a.k.a. Wadek Relik) returned to the ice last night after too many strikes (which led to his benching) and performed well for this particular game - so this doesn't provide a lot of comfort with him back in the lineup. Snippy sniper Ales Kotalik was back on the ice after a similar benching and now audience favorite Matt Gilroy - who was sent down to the minors for some conditioning weeks ago - is now back as well.
So the team is now back to what it was. Is it possible that Tortorella's temper is making an impact on our once limp Broadway hockey team? Or is it just that we are playing ailing teams that we should be beating in the first place? You be the judge. (duh...the latter).
Here are the stats from last night's win:
December 21, 2009 – New York Rangers 3, Carolina Hurricanes 1 (Game #36, Road #19)
• The Blueshirts defeated the Carolina Hurricanes, 3-1, tonight at the RBC Center to improve to 17-16-3 (37 pts.) overall and 10-7-2 (22 pts.) on the road.
• Henrik Lundqvist made 32 saves, including 13 in the third period, to close out the victory; Lundqvist has held opponents to two or fewer goals in eight of his last nine games.
• Marian Gaborik notched a goal and two assists; Gaborik has now had 15 multiple points games and has scored six goals and seven assists in his last 10 games.
• Brandon Dubisnky scored the game-winning goal and notched an assist; Dubinsky tied for the lead among all skaters with a plus-3 rating.
• Marc Staal tallied a goal and logged a team-high 24:47 of icetime; Staal tied for the lead among all skaters with a plus-3 rating.
• Michal Rozsival recorded an assist and had a plus-two rating for the game; Rozsival logged 24:31 of ice time and led all skaters with 4 blocked shots.
For one game only, all hail Michal Rozsival who played the best game of the season -- there were moments of the Jaromir Jagr power play, when Rozzy had confidence and marksmanship. Aside from the brilliance of healthy Marian Gaborik and The Great Wall of Henrik, Rozsival was a difference maker on the ice last night, along with Marc Staal who is absolutely improving under the Torts-hand-devil-pitchfork -- he remains our best and most affordable player on the ice (with the exception of Michael Del Zotto or the 'now back from a brief stint in the H. Pack' Matt Gilroy).
Tomorrow night we play the Florida Panthers, a team without a fanbase but plenty of passion. They always seem to beat us. Tomorrow will be the deciding factor for me on "the effectiveness of John Tortorella and his hammering" --- a win and four-in-a-row would be peachy.