One of the reasons that the New York Rangers are in first place in the Eastern Conference is because they have been able to consistently put together winning streaks, and quickly halt potential losing streaks. The Rangers were able to bounce back from a loss at home on Thursday, by beating the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-0 in Toronto on Saturday night.
The key to the Rangers’ success in Toronto was the play of their role players. Martin Biron made his 11th start of the season, and was flawless in net. Although he wasn’t tested much, Biron stopped all 20 shots he faced to record his 9th win and 2nd shutout of the season. In addition to Biron’s play, the Rangers’ offense was courtesy of secondary scoring.
Mike Rupp gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead early in the 2nd period. A turnover by Maple Leafs’ defenseman Mike Komisarek led to a 3-on-1 rush for the Rangers, and Rupp took a Derek Stepan pass and buried a wrist shot past Jonas Gustavsson. The goal was Rupp’s 4th of the season, and his 3rd in the last six games. With three and a half minutes remaining in the middle frame, Brian Boyle gave the Rangers a two goal lead. Boyle fired a wrist shot from the top of the right circle over Gustavsson’s glove for his 3rd of the season, and his first goal in 23 games. Stepan closed out the scoring for the Rangers six minutes into the 3rd period. On a 3-on-2 rush that was started by a Biron pass, Stepan broke in around Komisarek and deked past Gustavsson for his 10th goal of the season.
Once again, the Rangers were able to find a way to win without needing their star players to contribute. It has been a factor that has helped the Rangers be consistent throughout the first half of the season, and prevents a potential slide. The Rangers will look to win back-to-back games in Canada when they visit the Montreal Canadiens on Sunday night, with all-star goalie Henrik Lundqvist expected to get the start for the Blueshirts.
Note: Rangers forward Ruslan Fedotenko left the game after the 2nd period with back spasms and did not return, and his status is day to day. Forward Brandon Dubinsky missed his second consecutive game with a sore right shoulder.