Rangers Bounce Back Versus Devils
After a lackluster effort Thursday against the Flyers it was imperative the Rangers get back to what has brought them success recently; hard work and a team-first attitude. It wouldn't be easy as the Blue Shirts would enter Friday's contest against the rival New Jersey Devils down one of their key players, Ryan Callahan, who sat out due to soreness after taking a tumble into the end boards courtesy of a Kimmo Timonen shove in the Flyers game.
Compounding matters was the Devils were coming off a huge win over the defending champion Blackhawks in which their struggling offense potted 5 markers against Chicago. The Devils, who have struggled all season, were looking to keep old mo rolling and also were trying to get their first home win of the year.
The Devils dominated statistically in out-shooting the Rangers 33 - 20 and winning the faceoff battle 41 - 18. Fortunately for the Rangers, Henrik Lundqvist and the sizzling hot Brandon Dubinsky shouldered the load as the Blue Shirts overcame the statistical disadvantage and left Jersey with a 3 - 0 road win.
Dubi netted 2 more goals, his 9th and 10th of the season, while Hank stopped all 33 shots against in earning his second shutout of the season, 26th overall of his career and 6th career against New Jersey.
The Rangers struck in the 1st period when an Artem Anisimov shot attempt deflected right onto the stick of Dubi who cashed in from the slot 7:35 into the period. Anisimov and Alex Frolov each picked up assists on the goal.
This goal was a perfect representation of everything that Dubi is doing better this season and why he already is half-way towards his career-high in goals through just 13 contests this year. He is going to the scoring areas, keeping his stick on the ice and ready at all times. He's playing less on the perimeter and sticking his nose in the high traffic areas. He has also been fortunate as is the case when things are going well for a goal scorer; the puck seems to be finding him as much as he is finding the puck.
He's also burying his chances. His 10 goals have come on just 35 shots which is good for a robust 28.6 shooting percentage. His career high shooting percentage prior was 12.1 %, recorded last year. I don't suspect he'll be able to maintain that shooting % or goal scoring pace for the season but considering he is going to the net a lot more than previously my guess is he'll have no trouble besting the 20 goals he scored last year.
Lundqvist was also very sharp in net last night robbing the Devils on several occasions. He's always played very well against the Devils in his career recording a 20 - 7 - 5 mark against New Jersey with 6 shutouts.
Brian Boyle chipped in to the scoring attack with his career best 5th goal of the season. An interesting note; Boyle now has 17 career goals with just 4 assists. I guess Boyle won't be considered a play-making Center anytime soon.
Next up for the Blue Shirts is a Sunday night affair against the St. Louis Blues. The Blues are off to a tremendous start winning 7 of their first 10 and with 16 points already. They reside in second place behind an even hotter Detroit Red Wings club in the Central Division. The Blues boast one of the league's best goal differential totals as they have potted 11 more markers than they've allowed. It should be a great game at MSG tomorrow and I am very much looking forward to it as I am sure you must be as well.