Well 2-1-2 looks a whole lot better than 0-1-2, doesn't it? With tonight's 3-2 overtime win over the Calgary Flames, the Rangers have now won back-to-back games and are undefeated midway through their western Canada road trip. After a shaky start, the Blueshirts are on their way to erasing what was a not-so-great effort in the first three games of the season with continuous wins, and could potentially return home to New York next Thursday with a 4-1-2 record. Now that's what I call a turnaround.
Both the Rangers and Flames came out skating in this game, showing their desperation for points in the standings with this being a match against a club of the opposite Conference. The Rangers struck first when they earned their first goal on the powerplay this season. Derek Stepan made a beautiful pass to Marian Gaborik in the high slot, who managed to get off a one-timer despite being surrounded by Flames to give New York an early 1-0 advantage. Stellar vision from Step, but in my opinion, an even better release from Gabby. He doesn't hit that one last season, further proving that he is a new player this year. Marian now has 4 goals in 5 games.
The Flames answered quickly, though, as Jarome Iginla capitalized on a bouncing puck that eluded Dan Girardi and was thrown in front by Alex Tanguay. The Rangers, in their relentless ways, continued to battle back even after giving up the lead, and scored again to make it 2-1 shortly after. It happened to be none other than former Flame Brandon Prust, who scored shorthanded off a perfect pass by Brian Boyle for his second tally of the season.
However, before the first came to a close, Mark Giordano snuck a point-shot past Henrik Lundqvist to tie the game at two, which is how it remained until overtime.
It actually looked as if this one was going to a shootout, but a strong play by Brandon Dubinsky set-up what would turn into a Ryan McDonagh game-winner to give the Rangers their second straight win, 3-2, with the final seconds ticking off the clock in overtime.
Brandon Prut was the recipient of the "Broadway Hat" tonight and he deserved it. Prust played a very physical game and his goal came at a crucial time for the team. Lots of times players get rattled when they return to the city where they started out, but Prust had the complete opposite reaction. He was pumped to go back to Calgary and you could see it in his game. Nice bounce-back performance after being benched last game.
Ryan McDonagh -- the hero -- was hot and cold tonight. He had at least one turnover that led to a goal, but also made some nice defensive plays as well as offensive passes. And, of course, he netted the winner in overtime with less than 2 seconds remaining on the clock. McDonagh now has 2 goals and an assist in his past two games and we're really starting to see him develop into the player that he was projected to be when the Rangers first acquired him from the Montreal Canadiens in 2009. Injuries are never something to celebrate, but Marc Staal's time out of the lineup has undoubtedly benefited McDonagh.
Henrik Lundqvist, yet again, had an amazing game between the pipes for New York. He finished the night with 33 saves, several of which were grand larceny. Usually when a goaltender plays very well, there is one standout save that sticks out from the rest. That's not the case for Hank tonight since there were so many of them that I lost count. Playing like this, will he finish out the western Canada trip?
Also want to acknowledge the effort of Marian Gaborik so far this season. As I said above, he is clearly a different player as compared to a year ago, and he's looking a lot like the sniper we saw in 2009-10 when he scored 40+ goals. Gaborik, in my eyes, has been the best Ranger next to Lundqvist and Girardi this year, and that's saying a lot.
The Rangers have to be amped up after this win and that's good because they have a tough match-up against the Edmonton Oilers coming up on Saturday. Remember when I said 2-1-2 looks much better than 0-1-2? Well how about 3-1-2?
Here are the highlights from tonight's game for those of you who couldn't keep your eyes open: