The New York Rangers needed a spark in both the offensive and defensive zones from their new players as well as their old ones. Tonight, against the Pittsburgh Penguins, they received just that in a full team effort that culminated in what will hopefully become a benchmark win.
LW Ryane Clowe, acquired yesterday from the San Jose Sharks, came out firing all cylinders, giving and taking punishment while making quality shots on goal. He scored his first goal of the season, two altogether in a Rangers uniform, and gave an assist on the teams’ first score.
D John Moore, brought in from the Columbus Blue Jackets in the trade for Marian Gaborik, proved he can play in head coach John Tortorella‘s high pressure system and hold his post while contributing his first goal of the season. Even C Derick Brassard added a goal and two assists while playing with passion during his shifts.
More importantly, however, the gritty style of the new Rangers woke up Brad Richards (2 Assists), Ryan McDonagh (1 Goal) and Brian Boyle (1 Goal, 3 Assists), who were able to stake their team to a lead against the top scoring team in the NHL. The Penguins, playing without the injured Sydney Crosby, looked lackluster on the offensive front as Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist showed some quick moves in the first and held them in check the rest of the game with some spectacular saves.
This is the kind of hockey that Tortorella needs to see if his team is going to make the playoffs. Hopefully, they will become the team they were thought to be before the season began. With the 6-1 win Wednesday, the Rangers move into the seventh spot of the Eastern Conference playoff race.
What we know is that this was only one game. Fans have seen the Rangers put together a complete effort before, then come out flat the next few games. If the Rangers can duplicate the effort they showed Wednesday night throughout the rest of the regular season, it should be a given they make the playoffs. If not, then next season will not be able to come quick enough.