Marian Gaborik Must Be Better for the New York Rangers

Cat Zambito@@catzambitoContributor IMay 1, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 30:  (L-R) Marian Gaborik #10, Brad Richards #19, Michael Del Zotto #4 and Ryan Callahan #24 of the New York Rangers celebrate after Callahan scored a goal in the third period against the Washington Capitals in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden on April 30, 2012 in New York City.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

New York Rangers' right winger Marian Gaborik ended up finishing the regular season very strong with 41 goals and 35 assists, ranking him third overall with goals scored.

He then started the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Ottawa Senators very strong with an unassisted goal late in the second period of their Game 1 4-2 win.

At that point it seemed like he would be keeping on track with his great scoring record from the regular season, but since that first game in round 1, we have yet to see any other goals out of the Rangers' top player.

He was relatively quiet for the next few games, and then recorded two assists in Game 4 of round 1.

In the Eastern Conference Semifinals currently underway against the Washington Capitals, Gaborik has two assists (one from each game played thus far), but the Rangers need more from their top line forward than what he is currently producing.

He has definitely increased his presence on the ice and is connecting well with hits, as well as making a couple of great Gaborik-style passes in Game 2's 3-2 loss at the Garden Monday night, but the Rangers need their veteran player to score and be dependable.

It has been great that other unlikely Rangers players (such as rookie Chris Kreider) are making a name for themselves in the postseason and scoring game-winning and powerful goals, but the Blueshirts cannot depend on him to be the answer every night (nor can they rely so heavily on their fabulous netminder Henrik Lundqvist, who sooner or later is going to have an off night).

What they need is Gaborik to play the way we all got used to during the regular season and score some big goals for his team.

Although the series is only tied at 1-1, if Gaborik reclaims himself as a force to be reckoned with, the Rangers could once again lead and win the series.

It would also help with intimidating Capitals young goaltender Braden Holtby as we all know Gaborik should and is capable of doing.

The Rangers and the Capitals met four times during the regular season with a 2-2-0 record.

Their last meeting on April 7th, the Capitals beat the Rangers 4-1 (causing them to lose out on winning the President's Trophy).  

The Rangers can no longer allow the Capitals to take anything away from them and need to establish that going into Game 3 in Washington Wednesday night.

A large part of that will be determined by whether or not Gaborik steps up to the plate.