The New York Rangers won a game on Monday night against the Winnipeg Jets that they were completely dominated in, but after seven road games in a row to start the season, the Blueshirts head home with a 3-2-2 record and that’s all that should matter right now.
Despite the uneven play over the season’s early stretch, New York managed to earn eight points, and went 3-1 on a tough Western Canada swing, the latest a 2-1 undeserved victory in Winnipeg, the Rangers first win there since Nov. 21, 1992. This one was won — luckily — on the power play in the third period when Ryan Callahan centered a pass that deflected off a Winnipeg defenseman’s skate and into the net .
As has been the theme in the early going, the play of the goaltender was the reason the Rangers could even consider winning the game in the end. This time, it was Martin Biron who put on a show with a 27-save effort, none more impressive than a gut-wrenching stretch in the third period in which Winnipeg held the puck in the zone for 1 minute, 30 seconds. Biron made 13 stops in the final frame, as the Rangers seemingly spent 75 percent of it in their own zone.
And while New York could only muster 17 shots in the game — three in the third period — the Rangers invisible power play made an appearance … twice. Besides the game winner from Callahan, Ruslan Fedotenko also scored in the second to make it 1-0 off on a redirection off a sleek shot-pass from Dan Girardi. If anything, the Rangers should feel a little bit better about their man-advantage play, and realize how pivotal it is to get it clicking.
Another plus in this one was that the Rangers only took one minor penalty after having to kill off 36 power plays over the first seven games.
Ultimately, it’s cliche, but a win is a win and stealing two points like this can only be considered a good thing. Even though it was ugly, as many of the games early on have been, it says a lot about this team’s character to find a way to get these wins. Hopefully a long stretch of games at Madison Square Garden — and some home-ice practice — gets this team back on track and ready to play at a level they showed so often last season.