No surprise, but coach John Tortorella absolutely ripped into his team when he took a timeout at 1:24 of the first period. The Rangers' defensive work in their end up to that point was, at best, abysmal, at worst, apathetic. Seriously, the Rangers were very flat and stood there watching the Devils pass the puck, go into the corners, retrieve the puck and head back toward the Rangers net.
"It was very obvious," Gilroy said of what Tortorella said. "Anything you guys could think of, he probably said."
The stern, ahem, lecture obviously worked because even though the first period remained, for the most part, the opposite of a defensive masterpiece, the Rangers were good, for the most part, in their own end the rest of the game. Tortorella was happy to announce the Devils were held to 10 scoring chances after the Rangers had given up in the teens to their first two opponents.
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Tortorella was also pretty happy to see the Rangers win this type of game. The last two periods were definitely grind-it-out periods and the Rangers didn't get to play the way Tortorella prefers, which is speedy transitions and pushing the puck up the ice as a result.
"It's a great point (The Post's Larry Brooks asked the question so credit where credit is due)," Tortorella said. "It's tough not to play their style of game, they play it so well. It's tough to get open ice, it's tough to get through the neutral zone clean with the puck. Early on, it's important to win a game like this. I was really encouraged in the third period, everybody chipped in (Tortorella, in particular, praised the fourth line of Donald Brashear-Brian Boyle-Aaron Voros). It's very important to find a way to win this type of game early."
Little was said of Henrik Lundqvist's performance, what with the two rookie defensemen both scoring goals and sort of becoming the main topic in the Rangers' room after the game, at least from a media standpoint. Personally, I thought Lundqvist was outstanding in making 25 saves. He's playing very square to the puck and he's not allowing rebounds.
Ales Kotalik has been somewhat frustrated with a lack of ice time - he logged 11:30 against the Devils after getting 13:36 against the Penguins and 14:58 against the Senators. But Kotalik is not a top six forward for this team and Tortorella's philosophy is to keep his best players on the ice as much as he can. Kotalik himself recognizes that playing with Artem Anisimov, 21, and Enver Lisin, 23, on the third line will probably keep his ice time down anyway. He said he just needed to stay focused and be professional about it.
"He was more engaged (tonight)," Tortorella said. "He made a great play at the end of the game and he scores a big goal. He hit the net. In the first two games he's had opportunities but he missed the net. We're going to have to ask for more. I think he's going to give us more. I think he's going to be a big part of the hockey club. Him and a few other guys are going through a process here where you have the other two lines are playing a little bit more. I know he wants to play more. I think he eventually will play more. It comes down to what you're doing on the ice and how you earn your ice time."
The Rangers are off tomorrow and will resume practice on Wednesday before leaving for Thursday's game at Washington.
Finally, here are the game note the Rangers sent out: Thanks again for the great comments tonight. I know there's been some back and forth on the posts with maybe some hard feelings. But I appreciate you guys policing yourselves and keeping the comments section constructive. That's what it's there for.
* The Blueshirts defeated Atlantic Division rivals, the New Jersey Devils, 3-2, tonight at the Prudential Center to improve to 2-1-0 overall, including a 1-1-0 mark on the road.
* The Rangers have now won 14 of their last 23 games against the Devils, posting a record of 14-6-3 over the span.
* New York tallied two goals in six power play opportunities; Michael Del Zotto notched the team's first power play goal of the season at 6:31 of the first period, and assisted on Ales Kotalik's power play tally later in the opening frame.
* Rangers defenseman Matt Gilroy tallied his first career NHL point with a goal, the game winner, at 17:50 of the second period; he also registered a game-high, six shots on net.
* Marian Gaborik recorded an assist on the game-winning goal to extend his scoring streak to three games, registering two goals and four points during the stretch.
* Ales Kotalik registered his first point as a Ranger with an assist on Del Zotto's first period power play goal, and then added his first goal as a Ranger on the power play at 16:23 of the first.
* Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist made 25 saves, including 21 consecutive saves to end the game, en route to recording his second straight win.
* Vinny Prospal finished with two assists and logged 20:42 of icetime.
* Defenseman Dan Girardi blocked a game-high, four shots and delivered three hits in 20:28 of icetime.
* Rangers Alternate Captain Ryan Callahan collected an assist on Kotalik's first period power play goal.