In a season so dominated by the hype of stars Gomez and Drury, the other "new" Rangers have given fans a reson to get excited. Rookies Nigel Dawes, Brandon Dubinsky and Marc Staal have provided a total of 7 goals in this young season. And indeed, the season is young as the Rangers have drawn success from their kids more than from the seasoned vets.
The three rookies all scored in the Rangers 4-2 win over the Devils, the Rangers 4th straight win and 8th out of their last 10.
Nigel started the season on a roll after getting called up a few games in. He scored three goals in his first four games but slowed down for a while.
Jamie Langenbrunner scored in the first minute of regulation givng the Devils a 1-0 lead. 40 seconds later, Dawes got his chance. Drury stole the puck at the Rangers line and sent it to Dawes who was streaking down the right wing. He entered the zone on a 2 on 1 and moved in quickly on Marty Brodeur. As he approached the crease, he squeezed it between the blocker and pad of the Devils goaltender. The tying marker was Dawes 4th goal this season and would be the last goal of the first period.
Brandon earned a roster spot in training camp and was slated to center the third line. But when things got ugly on the Jagr line, Dubinsky was sent to the top line on a experimental basis. He never came down. Jagr loves playing with him, which is a victory in itself, and feels reponsible to help Brandon in his development. This has given the young center the best possible situation for success now and down the road.
Tonight, Dubinsky gave the Rangers their first lead of the game. Jagr had gotten the puck along the right boards and skated to the center of the zone for a wrist shot. Brodeur knocked it down but left the rebound at the top of the crease. Dubinsky pounced on it and banged it past a diving Brodeur. The marker was the second goal of the season and his career.
Jagr added a power play wraparound goal in the last minute of the second, his fourth goal of the season.
If Gomez and Drury are big hockey names, Staal is even bigger. The four Staal brothers are Eastern Canada's equivalent of the Sutters, all of them with bright NHL futures. Marc is the only defenseman in the group but may be the most talented. After promising seasons in the OHL, Marc broke through to the big club. And has not dissappointed. His growth in the few weeks he has had with the team has been unbelievable. He has gone from looking like a...well...rookie into looking confident and solid on the ice. He has made great defensive plays and rarely any errors, something that can go unnoticed but is really the most important thing to have in a hockey player (see Malik). The Rangers drafted a great player and he should be the Rangers #1 D-man for years to come.
In the third period, Staal got on the board. Gomez had the puck in the right corner and center to Shanahan in the slot. Shanahan faked the one-timer put let the puck slide past his stick. Staal hesitated after the unexpected move but recovered and made a nice play to keep the puck in the zone. The Devils were still wondering where Shanny's shot had ended up and Staal had room to walk in from the point. He sent a quick wrist shot over the right shoulder of Brodeur and to the top corner of the net. for his first career goal. The accuracy and power of the shot was remarkable but not surprising. After all, he is a Staal.
Last Ditch Effort
The Devils answered at the midway point with another goal from Langenbrunner. He is in his first game back from an injury and celebrated his return with a two goal effort. The Devils rallied around the goal and put a tremendous amount of pressure on the Rangers. And then they got their chance.
Brian Gionta stole the puck on a Rangers power play and had a clear breakaway on Lundqvist. As soon as Gionta touched the puck, Lundqvist came out of his crease and got in position for the breakaway. Gionta came head on and fired a wrist shot that was wired for the top right corner. Lundqvist threw his glove up and knocked it away, sealing the victory and giving the blueshirts their third win over the Devils this season.
-Scott Gomez extended his point streak to 7 games. His two helpers tonight gave him 8 on the season.
-Jason Blake told Sam Rosen of MSG Network that he did not hear Sean Avery make any comment about his cancer during a pregame scuffle betweeen the Rangers and Leafs on Saturday night.
-The Rangers had their third 4+ goal game of the season, the other two coming against Florida and Pittsburgh at MSG.
-The Rangers improve their road record to 2-5-1 and overall are 10-7-1 with 21 points. They are currently 1 point behind the
Flyers for 1st in the Atlantic Division.
-The Rangers face-off against the Flyers in Philadephia on Thursday night at 7:00.