The puck dropped in Madison Square Garden as the New York Rangers went up against the Florida Panthers. For the Rangers, this game was a must win in order to keep the momentum going as they were coming off a three-game winning streak.
The Panthers were vicious with the pressure and the Rangers had a very hard time clearing the puck out of their own zone especially when on the PK.
The Rangers' defense gave up a quick goal 4:09 into the first period as Michal Rozsival failed to clear the puck in front of Henrik Lundqvist, allowing Florida the easy goal.
The first period was all Enver Lisin and Lundqvist. Lisin was playing like a man on a mission, but this is nothing new after watching this young man play. He hustled to the puck and two minutes after Florida scored, Lisin made a good pass to Chris Drury who beat Tomas Vokoun with a one-timer.
Drury has now scored three goals in four games and is starting to really turn this season around for himself. At $7 million per year, it's about time his offense showed up. Drury has been solid when it comes to defense and after going 20 games without a goal and being demoted to the fourth line, Drury’s offense has finally started to come out.
Marian Gaborik had two penalties in the first, but the Rangers' penalty killing unit prevented Florida from regaining the lead.
The Rangers have struggled when it comes to winning at home, losing five-straight at MSG, but the Blueshirts were determined to end their drought.
The second period started no different as Florida pressured the Rangers. Lundqvist made some great saves and kept the game tied.
Sean Avery finally showed up as he was a marked man. He was under the skin of the Panthers as they tried to tag him every chance they had. Avery drew a penalty and 4:55 into the second Vinny Prospal ends his 15-game slump by knocking in the power play goal, giving the Rangers a 2-1 lead.
In the second period both teams were on an all-out attack. The Rangers were creating quality scoring chances as were the Panthers. Lundqvist played as superb, stopping everything the Panthers were throwing at him.
The Rangers started the second period slow, but turned it up halfway through. The second period was as exciting as you can get, with both teams shooting the puck every chance they can got. Florida had 15 shots, while the Rangers registered 14.
The Rangers have been playing with a different strategy for the last few games. By applying more pressure in the neutral zone, the Rangers have been very impressive anticipating plays which have resulted in the Blueshirts stealing the puck, intercepting passes, and creating turnovers. It's more of a trap formation and it has been very effective.
The third period started off perfect for the Rangers. Twenty three seconds into the period, Brandon Dubinsky made a beautiful pass through the crease to Prospal, who then scored, giving the Rangers a two-goal lead.
The Rangers turned the game around, reversing the roles as they pressured the Panthers throughout the third period.
Halfway through the third, while on the PK, Drury created a break-a-way, before being tripped up. Gbaorik took control of the puck and snuck a shot passed Vokoun, giving Gabby his first pk goal of the year and the Rangers a 4-1 lead.
Avery when on his game is awesome. The chaos he causes on the ice is amazing. It was amazing that there wasn't a fight in this game.
With the 4-1 win, the Rangers increased their win streak to four games.
The Rangers will be going into Saturday's game against the New York Islanders with a lot of momentum and they will be well rested; it should be a very exciting game.