NEW YORK -- The Rangers' Marian Gaborik left the game in the third period with an obvious limp, but not before he put a hurting on the Phoenix Coyotes.
The sniper scored his League-leading ninth and 10th goals of the season, and the Rangers built a 4-0 lead before coming away with a 5-2 win against the Phoenix Coyotes on Monday at Madison Square Garden.
The win snapped a three-game losing streak for the Rangers (8-3-1), while the Coyotes (6-4-0) have lost two in a row after winning six of their first eight to open the season.
Gaborik also added an assist and has 18 points in 11 games after agreeing to a five-year, $33.5 million deal with the Rangers during the offseason. However, his night was cut short with a lower-body injury he didn't think was too serious following the game.
"It's nothing related to my groin or hip or torso," Gaborik said after the game, referring to body parts he's had injury problems with in the past. "We'll see how everything is in the morning. I collided with one of their players, but it's nothing major."
The Rangers were able to send him to the locker room with about five minutes left in the game without worrying about the outcome thanks mostly to another supreme effort from the 27-year-old Slovak star.
With the Rangers up 1-0 on Artem Anisimov's third goal of the season, Gaborik pushed the lead to 2-0 with a power-play goal at 13:09 of the first period. Brandon Dubinsky gained the Coyotes zone and skated down the left wing. He circled behind the net and hit a streaking Gaborik in the slot for a one-time goal.
"I just got my head up as I came around the net there," Dubinsky said. "He's one of those guys that just finds a way to get open and to put himself in a good position to score goals."
Vinny Prospal put the Rangers ahead 3-0 thanks to a nice setup by Gaborik at 6:05 of the second period. Less than two minutes later, Prospal returned the favor on the power play.
Prospal carried the puck into the slot, drawing a host of Coyotes defenders to him. That left Gaborik open for a one-timer on his off-wing, which he ripped into a small opening over the catching glove of goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov to make it 4-0.
Gaborik's three-point night left Dubinsky in awe of his teammate.
"There's a handful of players in this league that are dangerous and they're scary every time they have the puck," Dubinsky said. "It's just nice to have a guy like that on our team that every time he has the puck, you know something can happen. He's just dangerous no matter where he is with the puck.
"You say that with (Alex) Ovechkin and (Sidney) Crosby and with some of these top players in our League. He's definitely one of those guys."
It was also a sweet night for Rangers right wing Enver Lisin. Facing his former team for the first time, he scored midway through the third period to put away what had become a close game and cap a two-point night.
"There's a handful of players in this league that are dangerous and they're scary every time they have the puck. It's just nice to have a guy like that on our team that every time he has the puck, you know something can happen. He's just dangerous no matter where he is with the puck."
-- Brandon Dubinsky on Marian Gaborik
Playing on the Rangers' top line with the talented Gaborik and Prospal, the 23-year-old native of Moscow is showing he's got offensive ability, too.
"You can tell, it is an offensive guy playing with offensive players," Tortorella said. "Lis is a talented player and he is getting better and better at the other part of the game, away from the puck. He is certainly showing a willingness to hit, get hit, to make a play."
After Gaborik's second goal of the night that made it 4-0, Coyotes coach Dave Tippett pulled Bryzgalov at the 12:09 mark of the second period in favor of former Rangers goalie Jason LaBarbera. It was the worst start of the year for Bryzgalov, who entered the night with a 1.60 goals-against average but could only stop 7 of 11 shots.
The move seemed to light a fire under the Coyotes. Defenseman Ed Jovanovski beat Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist just over three minutes later to get the Coyotes on the board. Vernon Fiddler went to the roof to put the puck past Lundqvist and score a short-handed goal with 49 seconds left in the period and suddenly make it a 4-2 game.
Tortorella was disappointed with the mental lapse by his team.
"The score at the end of the second period, that is something we know we don't want to happen," Tortorella said. "It's something we have to learn as far as situational play and situational awareness."
It also helps when you have one of the game's best players in Gaborik to help offset some defensive mistakes. While Dubinsky was comparing him to Ovechkin and Crosby, Lundqvist was reminded of another player when he watches Gaborik.
"I think it's pretty obvious what he adds to the team. He adds a different level that we haven't had since (Jaromir) Jagr," Lundqvist said.
As long as Gaborik stays healthy, there's no reason to think he can't continue his dominant ways.
-- Dave Lozo, NHL.com
|Artem Anisimov (3) ASST: Brian Boyle (1), Donald Brashear (1)|
1 - 0 NYR
|PPG - Marian Gaborik (9) ASST: Brandon Dubinsky (6), Ales Kotalik (7)|
2 - 0 NYR
|Vinny Prospal (4) ASST: Marian Gaborik (8), Enver Lisin (5)|
3 - 0 NYR
|PPG - Marian Gaborik (10) ASST: Vinny Prospal (11), Michael Del Zotto (7)|
4 - 0 NYR
|Ed Jovanovski (4) ASST: Shane Doan (7), Daniel Winnik (2)|
4 - 1 NYR
|SHG - Vernon Fiddler (1) ASST: Daniel Winnik (3), Ed Jovanovski (5)|
4 - 2 NYR
|Enver Lisin (3) ASST: Vinny Prospal (12), Michael Del Zotto (8)|
5 - 2 NYR
|Martin Hanzal Holding the stick against Marian Gaborik|
|Vinny Prospal Boarding against Zbynek Michalek|
|Matthew Lombardi Hooking against Marc Staal|
|Sean Avery Slashing against Daniel Winnik|
|Sami Lepisto Tripping against Brandon Dubinsky|
|Adrian Aucoin Tripping against Matt Gilroy|
|Ales Kotalik Holding the stick against Scottie Upshall|
|Zbynek Michalek Hooking against Chris Higgins|
|Dan Girardi Tripping against Martin Hanzal|
|Chris Drury Slashing against Matthew Lombardi|
|Donald Brashear Tripping against Lauri Korpikoski|