Halloween, as described by Wikipedia is typically linked to the Celtic festival of Samhain. Samhain was the first and by far the most important of the four quarter days in the medieval Irish and Scottish calendar and, falling on the last day of Autumn, it was a time for stock-taking and preparation for the cold winter months ahead. This may turn out to be a date the Rangers might want to circle on their calendars. For when we look back at the season, it might be the date the Rangers regained there confidence and swagger that every successful team needs.
After blowing the dreaded three goal led Saturday afternoon against the Senators, it was time for the Rangers to take stock as a team. To a man they answered the call. With the exception of a three minute span in the second period the Rangers played there best hockey of the season. If tonight’s showing by the New York Rangers is any indication of the winter months ahead, it may not be as cold and harsh as expected, even with the record freak October snow storm.
The Rangers jumped out to a two goal led on goals by Ryan McDonagh off a feed by an extremely patient Ryan Callahan, and then a tape-to-tape-to-tape passing drill from Dan Girardi to Brandon Dubisnsky to Derek Stepan, for Derek’s first goal of the season.
The Rangers then in the spirit of the day, went from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde allowing the Sharks to come storming back to tie the game at 2-2. Would the Rangers turn the night into a horror or would they send the fans home with a treat ?
Coach Tortorella has talked about the team needing to find there confidence. To date they had not shown the resolve to fight off comebacks, and at times they have simply stopped playing. That changed drastically in the third period, as if each player was wearing there favorite super hero costume underneath there jersey, Jay-Z not included thank you !
Each line over the boards working harder then the Sharks, regardless of what Joe Thornton had to say. Martin Biron was steady and good when he needed to be in the nets.The Rangers stayed disciplined in their own end, for the most part they stayed out of the penalty box allowing the coach to roll four steady lines.
When asked if that was a factor in the game Coach Tortorella responded “We played minutes the last game and you could see our team played more the right way, as we’ve talked about it over the last couple of weeks here. “We haven’t found our game. It’s not a situation to panic, we just need to take each day at a time. That’s a key for us, and try to get better and we feel we have the right guys and some guys are starting to play better.”
Some of those guys the coach maybe talking about are Erik Christensen , Wojtek Wolski, Ryan McDonagh and Artem Anisimov. Each skated with extreme confidence which led to two goals by the captain and a gorgeous back hand roof job by Anismov to test themselves once again with the dreaded three goal lead.
Christensen said of his increased role tonight as opposed to past games. “You’re getting sort of a shift and then five minutes later your getting another shift, it kind of messes up your flow, but yeah tonight it just kind of flowed better and I got some bounces and made some plays.”
It’s something his coach hopes he builds on. “ He shows you those glimpses and you want it to happen every night, but for some reason the consistency isn’t there,” Tortorella said. “That’s a mental block of Erik, he should feel good about himself tonight and grow with that.”
On this Halloween night not only would the Rangers hold on to the dreaded third period three goal lead, they continued to play the style that got them there. So tonight in the Spirit of the festival of Samhain, the coach took stock of his team, and liked what he saw . The prospect for tonight at least , for look good for the winter.