For the large majority of the game the Rangers ran over the Oilers, which is a banged up team early in the season. As well as a team that has been plagued with the flu and it clearly showed that the Oiler players have not yet fully recovered.
This was a good game for the Rangers. Edmonton is the worst team in the league at this point in time with only one win. This game gave the Rangers a chance to really get some confidence back as well as try some line changes.
The power play had Gabby , Prospal and Callahan which looked very effective. Ryan knocked in a PP goal in the second and it was a goal that was much over due.
Every game you can rely on Cally to play hard, create offense and to play physical. He is by far one of the hardest working players in the league, and he brings it each and every game. It was nice to see Cally get his 3rd goal of the year.
Last year was no different, Cally played on the second line, scored a goal here and there and Tom Renney placed Ryan on the first line where he just shined. When given the chance, Cally takes full advantage of the opportunity and it will be interesting to see if Cally remains on that line against the Flames.
Chris Higgins scored his second goal of the season and you have to look for him to score even more. With the pressure of scoring his first goal behind him, he will be playing more relaxed and full of confidence and hungry for that next goal.
Brian Boyle played and very good game. That whole forth line has been doing a very good job. With the addition of Sean Avery , that 4thline has become more of a scoring threat then it already was. LOL, I need to laugh at that one because I called that move weeks ago and now with Avery playing the 4th line, coach Tortorella has four lines he can play with that can also be relied on to score goals as well as play physical.
Aaron Voros is a penalty magnet, and I liked what coach Tortorella did with him after his second penalty. He benched him for most of the second and when the Rangers scored their second goal which gave them a two goal lead he put Voros back on the ice to redeem him self. IF ONLY Tortorella would do this with every player he just might accomplish something here. I have no issues with a strict coach, but you have to be strict with everyone, if not what is the point to being strict in the first place.
I like Voros, his aggression , he has nice speed, he is tough and loves to check. But there is also a time for that aggression and Aaron needs to learn how to control it and to think first instead of taking bad penalties. The tripping penalty was just a dumb penalty but most of his are just a matter of Voros being over aggressive. But that is his role that he plays, he just needs to play smarter!
Ales Kotalik scored his 6th goal of the season and Marion Gaborik scored his 12th. Chris Drury has not been a factor in quiet some time now in regards to scoring and you know it has to happen soon. Drury has been very effective in other ways though. He is one of the main reasons the Rangers are Ranked 3rd in penalty killing and he has played very well defensively.
The whole first period of this game, every line was right there to give support to goalie Steve Valiquette. If there was a rebound, there was a defenseman or forward there to snatch up the puck or to clear it out of the zone. We saw this same style of play against Boston and it helped them win the game.
But in the second period the Oilers made adjustments and the Rangers players were no longer collapsing around the net to help Vally. Rangers forwards started chasing the puck instead of letting the puck come to them. This resulted in Edmonton scoring a goal.
The 3rdperiod was exciting as Edmonton played like a team full of energy and creating quality scoring chances. They managed to knock one in past Valiquette on a shot that some how squeezed through between the goalie and the post.
I have always been a fan of Nikolai Khabibulin. He was plagued for such a long time being stuck on teams that had no defensive support and he reminds me of the Mike Richter Days. All in all he played a very good game and did not let in any easy goals. The Rangers had to earn every goal they scored and Nikolai made some pretty awesome saves during this game.
But it was not enough as the Rangers took the win 4-2 on the road. The Rangers tallied 24 blocked shots in this game and killed off four penalties and scored 3 out of 6 power play goals.
It was a good game and I would hope that this Ranger team can look at that first period and learn from it. It worked and it also takes the pressure of the goalie. No matter if it is King Hank or Vally, it leads to wins. Why, come the second and third period did that playing style change makes no sense. They battled for the puck and won the battles in front. At the end of the period it was Rangers 1 Oilers 0. When they Changed it, it was Rangers 2 , Oilers 1. Against Boston they did not change that style of play, and they walked away with the shut out.
Use what works till it does not work any more. That is what it is all about. The Rangers beat a banged up team and a team that is plagued with the flu. It is also a team that has only won 1 game out of 13. So for the most part they should have won this game with ease. But it was also a well played game. Tortorella tried out some new line changes that worked and players that were over do to score did. A much needed confidence builder for them when they face off against a very good team in Calgary.