Last night’s game belonged to Sean Avery. He finally shook off the milquetoast impostor that’s taken over his body and returned to being the "love him, hate him" Sean Avery we’ve all come to love or hate. And it resulted in his best game of the year, as he led the Rangers to a 5-2 victory.
He gained some revenge against his former team, and when you get revenge against Texas, not only is it sweet, it tastes like BBQ. The agitating left-winger scored a power-play goal and assisted on three others. And that last assist looked like he was doing his Brian Leetch impression. He was also sent to the penalty box for a crosschecking penalty and a 10-minute misconduct.
Move over Gordie Howe Hat Trick; we now have the Sean Avery Hat Trick—a goal, an assist, and a 10-minute misconduct.
Avery happily went to the box to serve his misconduct penalty because the refs were scheduled to whistle him for a four-minute roughing minor in a few minutes anyway, so at least his team wouldn’t be shorthanded.
He refers to himself in the third person. He cracks wise. He’s a delinquent (thanks, Marty Turco). He’s interesting. He’s funny. He’s vulgar. He draws too much attention to himself. Too much attention is forced on him. He’s a jerk. But he’s our jerk. And when, oh when, will he and Stan Fischler get their own sitcom?
“It was the way that Sean Avery needs to play,” he said of himself. “I’ve been thinking about it a lot. That’s just the way it has to happen for me to be effective. I’ve got to stay consistent.” He pestered and provoked Dallas all game long (well, when he wasn’t in the penalty box). But like he said himself, he needs to do that on a game-by-game basis.
And really, all the Rangers need to be themselves on a game-by-game basis. Not everybody needs to be Marian Gaborik and score 50 goals, because obviously it won’t happen. But Brandon Dubinsky and Ryan Callahan need to play their style every night, which also means scoring goals. They don’t need to score 50, but 20 or 25.
And the same goes for Chris Higgins and Ales Kotalik and the rest of the supporting cast. And when they do chip in with goals and a consistent effort, what a difference it makes. In the last two games, Higgins, Kotalik (twice), Callahan, Avery, Chris Drury, and Erik Christensen have all scored, making Gaborik’s goal last night a footnote.
Henrik Lundqvist has hit his stride, which is the foundation for winning games. But with all this secondary scoring, it takes the pressure off him and the power play.
The Rangers are on a nice little 7-1-2 run, but all the non-Gaborikers on the team need to prove this isn’t a fluke if it’s going to last, especially with Vinny Prospal out. At least last night’s game was entertaining and fun to watch, because we all know, they can just as easily lose 6-0 at the drop of a hat, like they did last week. And hopefully the real Sean Avery has returned for good.