Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 11/11/13
Let’s stipulate Sunday’s 4-3 victory over the Panthers at the Garden will never see the light of day in a Rangers Classic Marathon on MSG Network, but at the same time, let’s recognize there is no such thing as a bad two points in the NHL. “We’ll take every win we can get,” Dan Girardi said after the Blueshirts bounded over .500 at 9-8 with their sixth victory in their last seven games. “We know we struggled through this a little bit and weren’t at our best, and things we have to fix, but we’ll take it.” It might have come with a price, however. Chris Kreider, who has been a punishing physical force on the ice, may well be suspended by the Department of Player Safety for his vicious hit that sent a defenseless Scottie Upshall flying into the boards with 1:15 to go in the third. Upshall had been sparring with Derek Stepan as they skated to their benches for respective changes when Kreider came full force and drilled the Panthers’ winger, who tumbled backward into the boards. The Rangers survived the indiscretion by killing the power play — the call was cross-checking — that became a six-on-four when Florida pulled Tim Thomas. “He apologized to us afterward for putting us in that position,” coach Alain Vigneault said of Kreider, for whom an apology might not be enough for the league’s disciplinary division. The Panthers came in having lost eight straight (0-4-4) in a dive to the bottom that cost Kevin Dineen his job behind the bench. Sunday’s match was the second under coach Peter Horachek, and their second consecutive one-goal defeat, but the 3-11-4 Puddy Tats sure don’t have to apologize to anyone for their effort. Indeed, the Rangers were outworked for significant portions of the match, most notably so in their own end, and were way too careless with the puck in the defensive zone. But the Blueshirts were able to win it by capitalizing during the flurries in which they had control and because Henrik Lundqvist was able to outdo Thomas.
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