A blog focusing on the New York Rangers and all things hockey (also Yankees and Giants) with a New York attitude from a fan of 40 years whose greatest highlight came when Mark Messier lifting the Stanley Cup on June 14, 1994
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The big boys -- Captain Ryan Callahan, Marian Gaborik, Brad Richards and Henrik Lundqvist -- came to play for the Rangers in their playoff opener Thursday.
Callahan, Gaborik and Richards scored goals and Lundqvist was spectacular at times as the Rangers got their Stanley Cup quest off on the right foot with a 4-2 win over the Senators at the Garden.
Callahan, who missed the playoffs last season with a broken leg, showed how he means to the Rangers with a strong first period that set the tone. He scored a bad-angle goal from along the goal line to open the scoring and had four big hits in the first 20 minutes.
Gaborik made it 2-0 late in the second with a goal scorer's goal. He got the puck in front, waited and waited, then fired it between the legs of Senators goalkeeper Craig Anderson, who had no chance.
Brian Boyle, who played well down the stretch, then delivered a back-breaker for the Senators, scoring with under a minute left in the second for his first career playoff goal and a 3-0 lead.
Richards, who won a Cup with Tampa Bay in 2004 and is highly motivated after missing the playoffs the last three seasons with Dallas, scored early in the third to make it 4-0.
While the Rangers need the big runs to step up for a deep playoff runs, they also need supplemental scoring, which is why Boyle's goal was a good sign.
Then there was the play of Lundqvist, who did give up two goals in the final 10 minutes but looked sharp and focused. It was a marked contrast from the regular-season finale when he allowed four goals on 17 shots against Washington.
The King had that look, which can only bring a smile to the faces of Rangers' fans.
But despite building a 4-0 lead, this game was not a walk in the park. The Senators have lots of speed, and they showed it over the final 10 minutes of the first period and the first half of the second.
They dominated puck possession and kept the Rangers hemmed in their own zone. Only the play of Lundqvist enabled the Rangers to keep the lead.
With the Rangers getting outshot 9-4 in the period, coach John Tortorella called a timeout.
It's amazing how a timeout can completely turnaround a game, but that's exactly what happened as the Rangers scored two goals and outshot Ottawa 8-2 over the remainder of the period and continued to control the play well into the final stanza.
New York's penalty kill (3-for-3) also was excellent against Ottawa's potent power play.
Overall, a solid effort for the Blueshirts, but there's always room for improvement heading into game two on Saturday