NY Sports Day

Rangers Duck Ducks in Shootout

NEW YORK – Since he was claimed by the Rangers back on December 2, 2009, Erik Christensen was always the Rangers leadoff batter.

John Tortorella used him first in every shootout no questions asked….

…Until tonight.

Maybe it was the on the fly line changes made by the coach which saw Christensen only log 8:41 of ice time – and locked to the bench for the last 10 minutes of the third and the overtime, but for the first time in his Rangers career, Tortorella asked the shootout specialist if he wanted to go first.

“He asked me today if I wanted to go first,” Christensen said. “I never know what to say, because he’s the coach. But this is the first time he asked me if I wanted to go first or second or third.”

But Christensen, who came into this game with the sixth highest shootout percentage at 51.1%, came through again, and after Marian Gaborik, with a 2 for 19 record in the skills session came off the snide, the Rangers came away with a 2-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks.

“I thought we played a very good first half,” Tortorella said. “[Anaheim] started to turn it up in the third period. I thought [Henrik Lundqvist] was really good in the third. But we found a way to win it in the shootout and get two points.”

More importantly, Tortorella found another way to use a very valuable asset in Gaborik. Before this game, his shootouts made Alex Rodriguez’s post-seasons look downright scorching.

But everyone needs a shot at redemption and the Great Gabby came through for the Blueshirts with a double-deke glove-side of Jonas Hiller to have the Rangers Victory Song played for the second time in a row at the Transformed Area.

“My record isn’t very good,” Gaborik said. “I had my move before I went and I tried to fake a move before I shot. It worked out well.”

And an end to a perfect day. Lundqvist was his usual sharp self in goal, stopping 27 of 28 shots, with 26 coming in the last 40 minutes and Jeff Woywitka came through with his first goal as a Ranger and only ninth in his seven year NHL career.

The end of training camp waiver claim beat Hiller with a shot from the point with 2:28 left in the first, giving the Blueshirts a well deserved lead after a well played period.

“We had some good zone pressure and [Gaborik] is coming around net there,” Woywitka said. “he made a great play and I stayed a little wider and he got the pass through to me. I wanted to get it off as quick as I could, as hard as I could, and got it past the first set of legs.”

“Once you do that anything could happen.”

Just like getting you leadoff man aboard in a shootout and your big gun driving in the winner.


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