Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Wolski: Gaborik chemistry 'pretty good'
By Mike Hume
After a snowy trip back to the Hume dojo so I didn't have to sleep at MSG tonight, here are Notes and Quotes to wrap up the contest with the Canadiens.
Head coach John Tortorella's explanation of the game was pretty straightforward: "They scored, we didn't." He wasn't just being glib, either. Admitting his team wasn't particularly "great" tonight, he correctly pointed out that the only thing separating the two clubs was a goal. For all their chances in the first period and in the final flourish of the third period, the Rangers could never get that second goal and it cost them.
Despite falling back from their ferocious opening burst, captain Chris Drury said the team's effort level never faltered. He did however note that a change in the flow of the game may have set them back a bit.
"I think the power play may have slowed us down a little bit, just like it slowed down St. Louis the other night," Drury said. "You just have to be able to keep the momentum going or build the momentum even if you don't score on the power play."
Drury also sited the Habs' disciplined defense for taking some of the starch out of the Rangers attack.
"They play a pretty disciplined trap. They try to hit you and they're quick. They have pretty good sticks so you know they're looking to turn you over and go the other way."
Jim McIsaac/Getty ImagesWojtek Wolski hit the ice just one night after the Rangers acquired him from the Coyotes.
As noted in the Rapid Reaction, Wojtek Wolski earned high marks in his first game with the Rangers.
Though the official shot total only credited him with one shot on goal, he rang another off the pipe -- and possibly Alex Auld's back -- late in the third and I swear he threw another off Auld's skate after that. Wolski skated nearly 19 minutes, all of it, or just about all of it, with Marian Gaborik. The two wingers clearly complement each other quite nicely. And Wolski thinks so, too.
"I thought the chemistry on our line was pretty good," Wolski said. "We're pretty similar in thought in terms of what to do with the puck and every once in a while we'll switch it up and put it on net. I think we're going to complement each other well; it's just a matter of getting a couple of practices to get used to each other, get the hang of the system a little bit.
"I think a couple of times I was a little late on the forecheck because I was still thinking about where to go on the ice. But overall I think it was a pretty good effort and I'm disappointed we didn't get the two points."
On what he particularly liked about the chemistry with Gaborik tonight: "I think we did a good job of getting their D to back off. A lot of the time you know that if they come at you in the middle you can chip it wide and he [Gaborik] will get there first. I thought we had the puck a lot down low, took it to the net and created opportunities. Their goalie played well and they won, but we definitely had a lot of chances."
His new captain agrees with Wolski and liked what he saw.
"I think he brought a lot to us tonight," Drury said. "You know he's going to bring a lot to us the second half here. Skating with the top six guys, he's going to get a lot done here I think.
"It's obvious he plays at a pretty high skill level. Just after one game you can see the hands he has, the skating, some of his moves. He's only going to get better and better playing with the guys after tonight."
Tortorella applauded the initial effort as well.
"He certainly was around the puck and had a number of opportunities to score," the coach said. "I thought he played hard. You can see his talent level. I thought he played a good game."
Note of the Night
I wrote in the Reaction that the assist by Henrik Lundqvist was his fourth of the season, but I forgot to mention it was also his third in the last four games. Not sure what that means, but maybe the Rangers' youthful blueliners will have some extra help moving the puck out of their own end.
The Rangers are back in action Thursday against the NHL-leading Vancouver Canucks, who pulled out a shootout win over the Islanders on Tuesday night. We'll be back in Rapid Reaction mode then. See ya when the snow clears.