Rangers Beat The Sharks 5-2
In a stunning turn of events the Rangers showed some life for sixty whole minutes of hockey. Behind Captain Ryan Callahan and some surprising offensive effectiveness the Rangers ended the five game winning streak of the San Jose Sharks and won a game at home.
An exciting night from Madison Square Garden started early when Brandon Prust dropped the gloves just seven seconds in. How Prust created a rival before the first 'Potvin Sucks' of the night is beyond me, but I love the feistiness. The energy would only build from there as just five minutes in Ryan McDonagh snuck home a wrist shot that lit the Garden on fire. It was a rare first period goal that was as shocking as it was invigorating. The crescendo would continue when, in an even more shocking turn of events, the Rangers scored on a power play goal. Derek Stepan re-directed a brilliant Brandon Dubinsky pass and bulged the back of the net. Two first period goals? A power play goal? Who are these guys? The shock of it all was enough to allow Ranger fans to ignore the fact that they were outplayed in the final five minutes of the period, in which the Sharks scored, and head into the first intermission with a bit of a thrill.
That excitement was all but torn from the building in the second period, however, when the Sharks equalized. It seemed a nervous energy had taken over the Garden as memories of Saturday's blown three goal lead washed through the crowd. Relief was not far away however, as Ryan Callahan would give the Rangers back the lead just three minutes later. His goal was followed by a brilliant Anisimov back-hander that popped the water bottle off the top of the net. It was a wonder-goal for the Russian who took the fast-break pass, shielded the puck beautifully and shot it exactly where it needed to be. Back up by two the question became whether the Rangers could avoid another let down.
That question was emphatically answered by the Rangers Captain when he showed off the part of his game that made him the obvious choice for the C. Callahan made a soft back-pass to Richards, then circled behind the net. He fought through a check and, diving to the ice, was just able to get his stick on the rebound of a Richards shot that had trickled through the Sharks goalie. It was a brilliant goal and the type of effort driven, no-quit play that has made Callahan a fan favorite. His second of the game, 5-2 Rangers. It proved to be the final goal of the game, as the third period would click by in largely uneventful fashion.
This was a quality win for the Rangers. For the first time this season you can say that they played a 'complete' hockey game. They scored more goals than they did give up power plays, scored a first period goal, defended well and actually found some offense. It was as though the entire team dressed up like better hockey players for Halloween. This was the type of game that Ranger fans expected to see from a team that has carried some lofty expectations into the season. If they are to be a top four team in the conference, as was suggested in the preseason by Dan Girardi and Brandon Dubinsky, this is the type of game that they'll need to play. They'll look for a repeat performance Thursday night when they take on the Anaheim Ducks.