Ranger netminder Henrik Lundqvist stole one tonight for the Rangers, Four goals on ten shots in the third disguising what was a dominating performance by the Swede. He stopped all 40 shots all told, many of them second chances, as he outplayed last year's Western Conference champion.
His resistance was particularly important through the first forty minutes, when a lacklustre offense saw the Rangers being outshot 28-9 and holding a 5-2 disadvantage in power plays.
It wasn't until Mike Rupp picked up a rebound in the third period, off of a sharp Michael Del Zotto shot that the Rangers really threatened. The goal put the Rangers into an unlikely lead, and when Ryan McDonagh and Brian Boyle added goals just 1:33 apart midway through the third period, they had firmly turned the game around.
Aside from the difficulty getting any offense going, the Rangers also struggled once more to hold their discipline in line. Of the first five penalties, three were committed in the offensive zone, and only one - that to Jeff Woywitka for hooking - was really what you'd term one worth taking.
Brandon Prust bore the brunt of John Tortorella's anger at the ill-discipline, sitting out for muh of the game after a poorly timed holding the stick call in the first. When he did finally make it back on the ice in the third, he contributed assists to the goals by Rupp and Boyle, though also picked up another offensive zone call when he was penalized for boarding.
As for the rest of the forwards, the top line did not have the same sort of dominance that they showed Saturday against the Islanders, finding it as hard as anyone to get the puck deep. Brad Richards was the pick of the line, and continues to look the most dangerous offensively. Derek Stepan looked much more subdued with less room, and Marian Gaborik was largely a non-factor, except for the tap in goal to make it 4-0.
The second line too continues to struggle. Artem Anisimov and Brandon Dubinsky are far from finding their groove yet, and Ryan Callahan is having a hard time doing it all himself. The Rangers need to find a way to get this line going on this road trip.
A third line of Prust, Boyle and Ruslan Fedotenko saw little time together becaue of Prust's indiscretion, but put together a couple of good shifts in the third. Fedotenko finds himself in the unlikely position of leading the Rangers in assists with his third tonight, a nice pass to setup Boyle for his goal. Boyle for his part hasn't been much of a force to date, and it was good to see him finally get a goal, hopefully the first of many.
Kris Newbury entered the line-up after a quick start to the Whale's season saw him called up at the expense of Mats Zuccarello, and he played a good conservative game with no glaring errors. Rupp seemed to be energized after his goal, and skated faster and harder than we've seen to date this year.
On defense there's little that can be said about the pair of Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh, with the latter looking very confident offensively tonight on his way to a goal and an assist.
Woywitka still is working on his game, as is Tim Erixon. Both look a little over matched at times, or perhaps unsure of where they need to be. On the positive side Michael Del Zotto and Steve Eminger looked relatively steady.
Stepan - Richards - Gaborik
Dubinsky - Anisimov - Callahan
Fedotenko - Boyle - Prust
Rupp - Newbury - Christensen
McDonagh - Girardi
Del Zotto - Erixon
Woywitka - Eminger
The Rangers had not won in Vancouver since October 21st, 2011.
Henrik Lundqvist registered his first win and first shutout of the season
Ryan McDonagh picked up his first goal of the season
Mike Rupp had his first fight and goal as a Ranger
Brian Boyle registered his first goal of the season
Kris Newbury made his season debut
Brendan Bell - healthy
Mike Sauer - injury (shoulder)
Mark Staal - injured reserve (concussion)
Wojtek Wolski - injury (groin)