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GAS line fuels 4-1 Rangers victory over New Jersey

Though the rivalry between the New York Rangers (19-8-4) and the New Jersey Devils (18-14-1) is still a young one in the NHL, it is still one powered with passion and fiery play between the two teams. Tuesday night’s meeting for the Blueshirts and Devils was no exception, as the GAS line fueled a 4-1 victory.

Playing for the first time this season at the Prudential Center, things got physical early between the rivals as Mike Rupp and Cam Janssen dropped gloves and exchanged blows three seconds into the game. Brandon Dubinsky followed with a fight of his own at the 1:47 mark, challenging David Clarkson.

Though it seemed as if the Rangers had the early momentum, it was the Devils that found the back of the net first, as Travis Zajac in his third game with the Devils, recorded his first goal of the season. Zajac, who recovered from an Achilles tear, rebounded home the first New Jersey goal of the game on a backhanded shot.

In the second period, both teams began with a barrage of opportunities, as things kicked-up a notch in terms of speed and pace of the game. New York tied the game at one when the GAS-line began to feed the scoring for the Rangers.

The GAS line consisting of Marian GaborikArtem Anisimov and Derek Stephan whose combined speed and skill has led to many Rangers victories. It was no different on Tuesday night, as Stephan (15) showing extra hustle was able to get the puck perfectly to Anisimov (7) to tie the game up at 1-1 at the 17:28 mark.

Winger Marian Gaborik (19) had a milestone moment in the third period, as his wicked snap shot at the 4:45 mark was the 600th career NHL point. ‘Gabby’ also assisted on the first New York goal, thus helping him reach the point plateau.

The New York defense along with Henrik Lundqvist combined to shut down the Devils opportunities, as Dan Girardi was a blocking machine, sacrificing his body twice on New Jersey offensive opportunities.  As for Hank (30 saves), the Rangers keeper continues his dominance against Marty Brodeur and the Devils, now holding a 21-4-4 record in his starts against New Jersey.

New York found the net twice, thanks to a Carl Hagelin shorthanded goal at the 14:41 mark, combined with a second goal for Gaborik to skate away with their second straight victory.  Hagelin’s goal had a special moment tied with it, as rookie Stu Bickel recorded his first NHL point.

The Blueshirts are now one-win away from first place in the Eastern Conference standings, they will look to earn that victory on Thursday when they face the Islanders on Thursday at Madison Square Garden. The game against the Rangers/Islanders is scheduled to air on the MSG network, with face-off slated for 7:00 p.m.

Written on December 21, 2011

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