The Rangers walked out of MSG tonight with two points that they needed to make sure that they continued to at least stay in the hunt for a higher playoff berth. The Rangers finished their three game homestand with four points, which is what I said was the least they needed to take out of those three games. In my opinion this was one of, if not the most, entertaining games of the season. It was a physical game from the start and there was hard hitting and scrums after almost every stoppage of play around the goalies on each side of the ice.
Despite the fact that Derek Boogaard wasn't in the lineup for the Wild, Colton Orr was still able to find a dance partner (although at first it didn't look like Nolan was willing). After Orr took a run at Nolan at the Wild blue line, Nolan didn't look too happy and after Orr fired a punch before Nolan got his gloves off, the two squared off. Orr got the better of Nolan but it was typical Owen Nolan being the leader that he is. Compare Nolan dropping his gloves with Orr to Brendan Shanahan dropping his gloves with Donald Brashear a few seasons ago at the Garden. [Video]
Sean Avery also got in his first fight since returning to the Blueshirts. He and Cal Clutterbuck had a pretty entertaining fight of their own at center ice, a good showing by both players. [Video]
Nik Zherdev scored a first period goal and added an assist in the second period when he was part of the play that led to the Scott Gomez game winning goal. Nik Antropov was once again one of the best Rangers on the ice, using his 6'6 frame effectively on numerous occasions throughout the night to shield Wild players away from the puck and then either take a shot himself or set up another Ranger. Mike Sauer didn't look out of place on the Rangers blue line, it was a successful NHL debut for the 21 year old who was called up from Hartford to replace the injured Michal Rozsival.
Shout out to Captain Invisible (Drury) for once again living up to the nickname that I've given him!
The Rangers next game is in Atlanta on Thursday night, where they'll be expected to get another two points.