Thursday, February 17, 2011
Rangers persevere through adversity to win in shootout
By Matt Ehalt
NEW YORK—The same two words kept popping up in conservation around the Rangers locker room following Thursday night’s 4-3 win in the shootout against the Los Angelese Kings: perseverance and adversity.
The Rangers believe they showed perseverance and overcame adversity as they picked up two important points with their win over the Kings. The Rangers overcame an early deficit and managed to win in the shootout despite blowing two third quarter leads.
“I think we showed a lot of character sticking with our gameplan and not letting the ups and down get to us,” forward Ryan Callahan said. “They tied it up twice and I feel we didn’t let them momentum swing and I think that was a big part of us having success tonight. We’re going to have tight games like this and games that are close coming down the stretch and to get this one under the belt and know we can do that and show our character is pretty important.”
Having lost six of the last seven games, things didn’t look good for the Rangers early as the Kings took a 1-0 lead just 5:25 into the game. Instead of letting the bad start take them out of the game, the Rangers stay composed and worked the puck on the Kings side and tied the game early in the second on a goal by Callahan.
In the third, the Rangers took the lead on two different occasions on goals by Marian Gaborik and Artem Anisimov, but goalie Henrik Lundqvist uncharacteristically yielded game-trying goals quickly after that sent the game to the shootout. In the shootout, goals by Erik Christensen and Mats Zuccarello led to the Rangers win.
“We had some adversity all throughout the game, getting down early and we come back,” Christensen said. “We take the lead late in the game and they tie it and it was back and forth and it’s really satisfying especially against a Western Confenece team where we like to get those two points.”
As Christensen said, the Rangers seemed especially proud of their resilient effort because of the two points it netted them. The Rangers entered the game in seventh place in the eastern conference, just four points ahead of the ninth-place Buffalo Sabres and two places in front of eighth-place Carolina.
If the Rangers are going to stay in the think of the battle for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, they are going to need more games in which they overcome adversity and persevere as they did Thursday.
“I felt like it was a really important game for us to get two in a row and try to start a good streak,” Lundqvist said. “Teams are catching up so there are big games coming up.”