Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Gaborik surprised, Step scores first SO goal, Dubi OK
By Katie Strang
Marian Gaborik admitted he was "kind of surprised" to be awarded a penalty shot with less than two minutes to play in the overtime period.
The 29-year-old sniper was impeded on a breakaway by Coyotes defenseman Adrian Aucoin -- for which he expected some sort of penalty -- but was given a chance to win the game against Mike Smith with 1:50 on the clock.
Gaborik made a great move to challenge Smith but the Coyotes netminder made a tremendous stick save to rob Gaborik of the game-winner.
Gaborik went with a different approach against Smith in the shootout -- going five-hole to tie the shootout 1-1 in the third round. According to Elias Sports Bureau it was the first time in 40 situations this season that a team entering the third round of a shootout with a shot to tie went on to win the game.
Gaborik has struggled in past years in the shootout -- he was 2-for 19 heading into this season -- but has scored twice in three attempts this year.
"It's a responsibility and I want to take that responsibility," Gaborik said. "My record isn't that great, but this year in three times I've had two goals, which is good. It's always nice to come up with a big goal like this to chip in in the shootout."
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Just like Gaborik, Derek Stepan isn't known for his prowess in the shootout. With an 0-for-5 record last season, the 21-year-old center tallied his first ever in boosting the team to its fifth straight win Tuesday.
“Last year I think I was just a little nervous going into the shootouts. This year, I felt a little more comfortable," Stepan said. "Like I said, I just kept it pretty simple.”
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Brandon Dubinsky was not available in the Rangers locker room after the game, but is apparently doing okay after getting banged up in the first period.
'He's fine," coach John Tortorella said.
Dubinsky left the ice late in the first after a hard hit from Taylor Pyatt into the boards and missed his first turn of the second period, but returned for his second shift of the middle frame.