Originally written on The Rangers Tribune  |  Last updated 11/9/11

The New York Rangers did not play as well tonight as they have in their previous four wins, but the show put on by their top offensive line was enough to earn them their fifth straight win against the Ottawa Senators at ScotiaBank Place. It's normally not fair to point to just three players as the main reason for a win, but looking at tonight's performance as whole, I think without Artem Anisimov, Derek Stepan and Marian Gaborik, this one likely would have been an addition to the loss column for the Blueshirts, ending their streak. 

Through the first two periods, the Senators were clearly the better of the two teams out there, getting a majority of the chances and putting the Rangers defense to work. Eventually, after being handed at least three or four odd-man rushes, the Sens capitalized when Milan Michalek lasered a wrist shot past Henrik Lundqvist from the high slot, giving Ottawa a 1-0 lead in the first half of the second period. 

The Rangers came back with two goals of their own, however, and wouldn't you know, the first line happened to score both of them. On the first, Derek Stepan found a wide open Marian Gaborik positioned low in the circle, and Gabby snapped his eighth goal of the season to the back of the net to tie the game at one. Then, about two minutes later, Stepan created another goal with great forechecking pressure around the net, and ultimately buried Artem Anisimov's rebound. New York entered the intermission holding a 2-1 advantage. 

At 8:30 of the third period, Anisimov, Stepan and Gaborik were at it again, putting yet another goal on the board to widen the margin to two goals. On this particular play, Anisimov started the rush back in his own zone, Stepan led Gaborik and Marian absolutely unleashed a wicked shot that flew right past Craig Anderson and went top shelf. That shot right there was vintage Gaborik; the Gaborik we saw in his first season as a Ranger in 2009-10. 

Nick Foligno would score again for Ottawa a minute later, though, and made it a 3-2 game, bringing some fear into the Rangers since they collapsed on a lead the last time they faced Ottawa back at MSG. This time around, however, the Blueshirts stood tall and found a way to kill off the clock and defend their lead to earn what would be their fifth consecutive win, and the sixth straight in which they've gained at least a point in. 

Going back to the first line, before I talk about how well they played tonight, I would just like to officially coin them the "GAS" line from this point on. I received an e-mail from a reader (you probably know him as swedefour in the comments) suggesting this nickname for the Anisimov-Stepan-Gaborik trio, and upon posting on Twitter, I started receiving other suggestions as well. I did the only logical thing and created a poll, and quickly everyone went for the "GAS" line, so that will be the nickname for now on. Even Mike Rupp is using it (link)!

Anyway, the "GAS" line sure was full throttle tonight, as Rupp put it. Their forecheck and puck movement is what makes them so dangerous and with Gabby's lethal shot as the finisher, they are rapidly racking up the points. Now while Gaborik and Stepan will probably get most of the credit tonight, I think Artem Anisimov should get the most because he started all three goals that this line scored tonight. Artie is playing great hockey right now and has been a critical piece to this line's success. 

Both Stepan and Anisimov have recorded points in three straight games now, while Gabby has made an appearance on the scoresheet at least once in four consecutive outings. Gaborik, alone, has scored four goals in his last two games, and now leads the entire team in scoring with 15 points. What we are seeing is a healthy Marian Gaborik, which was not the case last season as I suspected often here on the blog. Gabby's tied for fifth place in the league in goals right now, and if you don't think that the Rangers' streak is directly tied to Gabby's consecutive scoring then you are kidding yourself. 

As for the rest of the offense, they didn't have too great of a night tonight. Head coach John Tortorella had the bottom three lines all jumbled up by the third period, and the most notable swap was Brandon Dubinsky being moved off the second line and placed on the third. He couldn't find the net tonight, he was guilty of another offensive-zone penalty; things aren't going as Dubinsky wants them to right now, and I think it's starting to get to him. He is still playing well defensively, but at some point not having a goal is going to eat him alive. 

The defense had another one of their on and off nights as they allowed too many odd-man rushes and left players unattended to on goals, but at the same time tightened up and gave Henrik Lundqvist the required help when it was needed. And speaking of Hank, another stellar performance from him between the pipes, making 29 saves on 31 shots against. Hank's glove, especially, was on fire tonight. 

And lastly, before I wrap this up, I just wanted to give a shoutout to Sean Avery for dropping the gloves with Zenon Konopka tonight. Before the game Konopka had some things to say about Wojtek Wolski's hit on Daniel Alfredsson the last time these teams met, which I was fine with because he was simply stating an opinion. The Rangers, especially the coach, did not take kindly to the comments, though, and Avery was the one to stand up and do something about it - even though it meant fighting someone out of his weight class by a mile. I give him credit for doing that. 

The Rangers' next game will be against the Carolina Hurricanes at Madison Square Garden on Friday, which will be their first match-up with the 'Canes this season. New York currently sits in fourth place in the Eastern Conference, just two points behind the first place Pittsburgh Penguins. 

Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Report: San Antonio Spurs to sign LaMarcus Aldridge

WATCH: Serena Williams wags finger at Wimbledon crowd, says, 'Don’t try me'

Report: Rajon Rondo headed to Sacramento Kings

Dez Bryant deal with Cowboys could be announced Monday

Brandon Saad, Ryan O’Reilly sign long-term contracts with Columbus, Buffalo


Mavs solidify future, sign Wesley Matthews, DeAndre Jordan

A-Rod, Yankees settle dispute over home run milestone bonus

Report: Robin Lopez, Knicks finalizing four-year deal

Becky Hammon will coach Spurs' Summer League team

Jimmy Butler on Derrick Rose: ‘I don’t think we have any issues’

Yankees get A-Rod's 3,000th hit ball for $150,000 donation

Photo: Bryce Harper flaunts patriotic bat, hits home run

Report: Magic will sign Tobias Harris to 4-year deal

The top American sports moments since the last Fourth of July

Nine former college football rivalries that need to come back

The most patriotic uniforms in American sports

Jeanie Buss: Brother Jim will step down if Lakers don't make deep run within two seasons

DeAndre Jordan to Dallas: The Los Angeles Clippers are literally mad men

Remember when the Cincinnati Bearcats were the scariest team in America?

Are the Angels now the worst organization in baseball?

Five reasons the Browns should play Johnny Manziel

Blue Jays need rookies to keep producing for success in 2015

WATCH: Sean Doolittle gets cup check from teammate

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Russell Wilson 'would definitely consider' playing for Mariners

Solo, Rapinoe among USWNT stars up for World Cup awards

LBS on Sports Jeopardy! Here's how how it went

College football's 35 most patriotic helmets

A brief history of non-star All-Stars

With Love retained, the Cavs can take care of LeBron

Grading the deal: Davis commits to Pelicans

Obama Administration: Change name if Redskins move to D.C.

Deciding what the All-Star Game means

Odell Beckham Jr. offered professional baseball contract

Orioles keep finding a way to win

Lloyd sends USWNT to World Cup final

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.