NEW YORK – Without Rangers leading scorer Brandon Dubinsky for the next four to six weeks with a stress fracture in his left leg, the Blueshirts are searching to replace his 17 goals and 21 assists.
How can they do it?
Well just say the magic words:
Yo Gabba Gabba!
Marion Gaborik, the enigmatic leading scorer from last season, came to life with four goals against the Toronto Maple Leafs as the Blueshirts laughed their way to a 7-0 win at Madison Square Garden.
I definitely think he felt a lot of responsibility with us missing two key guys,” said goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, who Gaborik torched in a five goal performance a few years ago. “It was great to see – his speed and timing and the way he was scoring the puck.”
Nos. 12, 13, 14, and 15 came on a night when the Rangers seemed to need their sniper the most, not only did Dubinsky go down, but Ruslan Fedotenko – who also scored a goal in the game – left the match with a second degree A-C sprain and is out 2-4 weeks.
“We just have to play,” said coach John Tortorella. “We have a couple of guys coming from Hartford. (Connecticut coach Kenny Gernander) and his staff have done a tremendous job especially with the year we are going through with injuries. It’s a pretty seamless process as far as understanding how we play. They try to play the way we play.”
That Hartford help shown again tonight when Mats Zuccarello came through with the seventh goal of the game in the third. The pint sized winger has a three game point streak, while also gathering a number of Norwegian fans and media inside the Garden.
And the Rangers will need that effort from all the players, but at the same time the scoring needs to come from the top in Gaborik. After suffering a separated shoulder early in the season, the Slovakian sniper seemed to lose a little off the fastball, but now after being fully healed for almost two months, Gaborik seems to be at full strength.
“It feels good, especially after the first one,” Gaborik said. “It was a big relief to get the monkey off my back and it kept rolling. We talked about getting off to a good start and we did.”
Part of the reason Gaborik’s night was jumpstarted was the play of his line mated, Artem Anisimov and Sean Avery, who were put on the line with the goal scorer just for such an occasion. With Anisimov able to move the puck into the zone and Avery causing his typical havoc, Gaborik was able to get clear shots at the net.
“We have had chemistry in the past, but just needed to be more consistent,” Gaborik said. “We can see what Avery brings. He has speed and has forecheck and he can make plays. Artie made plays out there. We just need to keep it up with Dubi out.”
And Jonas Gustavsson – who gave up six goals on 25 shots and was pulled late in the first in favor of J.S. Giguere, but the resumed the crease for second period because coach Ron Wilson wanted to rest his starter – was the unfortunate victim of Gaborik.
Yet, the Leafs could have had Johnny Bower in the net and it wouldn’t have mattered much, especially with Lundqvist notching his seventh shutout of the season and 31st overall for his career.
“He’s a pretty good goalie,” Tortorella said.
And almost as good as his leading scorer tonight.
Yo Gabba Gabba!
Notes: Rangers go Whale hunting again calling up Chad Kolarik and Brodie Dupont to replace Dubinsky and Fedotenko on the roster…Gaborik now has 15 goals on the season, with 10 coming off of Hat Tricks…The last four goal game for the Rangers came from Radek Dvorek on March 29, 2001 at Long Island…The Rangers now go on the road for three games against the Hurricanes, Thrashers, and Capitals before returning home on Tuesday for a match against Panthers at the Garden.