Rangers Open The Garden Up With Strong Win

NEW YORK – It doesn’t come that often, but last week, Henrik Lundqvist got it wrong.

The Rangers All-Star netminder said on David Letterman’s top 10, “Who can concentrate on hockey when Jennifer Aniston still hasn’t found love.”

Apparently, after the Blueshirts nifty 5-2 win over the Ottawa Senators to open the Garden this season, it’s Lundqvist who proved himself wrong.

“Yeah I guess so,” Lundqvist laughed “I’m trying. We can’t blame her for any mistakes out there.”

Of course we kid and Lundqvist was reading a pre-written line on the late night talk show. Yet, there’s no mistaking the goalie’s skill in tonight’s game, especially in the second when he shoved away 19 of 20 shots (32 of 34 overall), as the Rangers outscored Ottawa 3-1 en route to their victory.

And in scoring their three goals, the Blueshirts were able to score their first two goals by Vinny Prospal and Brandon Dubinsky on their first three shots against Pascal LeClaire, who looked a little rusty out there, especially against the Ranger rushes.

“We need to button up something along the way here,” said Rangers coach John Tortorella. “We have a young defense, some forwards, who are new. We need to button up some things along the way. We stayed with it, but we gave up some chances. We have some work to do.”

Of course there’s work to do, but a lot of good happened. Dubinsky scored two goals and was close to another at 12:04 in the third when he had a breakaway and hit the side post. But Marian Gaborik was able to bank it in for the tally to make it 4-1.

And that came after Michael Del Zotto who scored his first NHL goal with 51 second left in the second period on a shot from the point which was screened by Ryan Callahan. It was so important, Tortorella said, “I thought the most important play of the game was Cally screening the goalie on the third goal.”

The combination of Prospal, Dubinsky and Gaborik starred for the Rangers. It looked so good that it hearkened back to that 2005-06 line that Jaromir Jagr starred on. How long it lasts? Who knows. But Tortorella likes what he sees.

“I see them working off one another and I think it’s a nice combination with those three,” the coach said. “How long it stays that way, you never know. It comes and goes sometimes when you’re dealing with forward lines. I know (Dubinsky) the center iceman is one happy guy that he gets to play with pretty good guys like that.”

Then Tortorella gave a warning by saying, “I hope he doesn’t screw it up.”

And Dubinsky better listen, because he won’t have Jennifer Aniston to blame if it happens.

Notes: The Blue Man Group introduced the Rangers with a short drum set…The Blueshirts came out as a group before the game, instead of getting introduced one by one…The win marks the Rangers fifth straight win in the Garden opener, a new franchise record….The Blueshirts are on the road for a week visiting New Jersey and Washington before coming back next Sunday to play Anaheim…The game will have a 5 p.m. start.

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