Goals weren’t the only thing obviously missing from the Rangers’ 1-0 loss to the Devils in an epic clash Tuesday night.
Given the history, this absence might have been even more noticeable than the lack of scoring.
“It was really nothing worth mentioning,” Martin Brodeur said of Sean Avery’s antics at the Garden.
Truth is, Avery hasn’t been consistently worth mentioning a little more than a year after his suspension. The Rangers’ winger is without a point in the last three games and has just 18 points on the season.
He’s had just four multi-point games, the last coming Jan. 6 in a 5-2 win over his ex-team, the Stars.
“He was a big part of us winning,” coach John Tortorella said after Avery’s four-point performance against Dallas. “For him to be an effective player, he needs to get [to the edge] or get closer than he has been.”
Avery, whose made a living crossing the line on and off the ice, has been an upstanding citizen by NHL?standards this season — even if he doesn’t see it that way.
“[I’m getting] paid by two teams,” is all Avery said about the difference between this season and those past.
Avery signed a four-year, $15.5 million free agent deal with the Stars in 2008. Dallas captain Brendan Morrow said Avery was signed to bring “piss and vinegar” to Dallas’ veteran locker room.
Avery contributed three goals, seven assists and 77 penalty minutes in 23 games with the Stars before he was suspended and put on waivers last February.
“If there’s anything that’s been consistent throughout his career, [it’s to] expect the unexpected with him,” Morrow said.
Avery’s delivered again this season — as the unexpected, anti-agitator.