It took three games, but the Rangers may finally be getting used to John Tortorella’s new aggressive style of play. In the first two games under their new coach, they did just about everything right except for one little detail: score goals. But last night’s explosion against Colorado took care of that.
Yeah, yeah the Avs stink, but so does Toronto and the Rangers lost twice to them this week, so who cares who they beat, as long as they won. Tortorella may not be a miracle worker, and they only have one win (against a crappy team) since he came aboard, but here are some positive changes we’ve seen so far.
1. He’s instituted a whole new system (or is it the old system from the beginning of the season?), attacking and controlling the puck. He’s opened up the offense, which the forwards have to be happy about. And the defense hasn’t suffered because of it.
The defensemen have actually played a whole lot better.
2. Wade Redden actually scored a power play goal, which is miracle in and of itself. Maybe you can’t credit Tortorella with that, but it happened in his first game, so why not?
3. The new coach changed the power play, having the players constantly moving around and rotating, and it looks a lot better than it did under Tom Renney. They even scored on a five-on-three vs. the Avalanche, which is an automatic goal for most teams, but not for the Blueshirts.
4. Jim Schoenfeld is handling the defense (and I thought he was going to take on the whole Colorado team last night), and he changed all the pairings. Dan Girardi’s game went downhill as soon as he was paired with Redden, and now that’s he’s skating with Marc Staal, he’s picked up his game again.
5. Brandon Dubinsky played a little left wing under Renney, but the move seems to be permanent under Tortorella. He looks great as a power forward, wreaking havoc on the boards. He’s been excellent this week.
Bag-O’-Knuckles-O-Meter (51 fights, sixth in the league)
Colton Orr: 14
Aaron Voros: 10
Brandon Dubinsky: 6
Paul Mara: 6
Ryan Callahan: 3
Dan Girardi: 2
Petr Prucha: 2
Erik Reitz: 2
Nigel Dawes: 1
Markus Naslund: 1
Wade Redden: 1
Nikolai Zherdev: 1