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Blackhawks down

The Rangers down the Blackhawks, 3-2, at MSG.

John Tortorella stood in the hallway leading to the New York Rangers dressing room and greeted each player by shouting a compliment and patting them on the back.

Against a far more talented team, Tortorella’s charges worked hard for 60 minutes. And, as a result, basked in a 3-2 win over the reigning Stanley Cup Champion Blackhawks last night at the Garden that was not only was justifiable but may be a starting point for a surprising season.

Go throughout the lineup. Look at the stat sheet. There’s not one player who did not contribute to the win. Alternate captain Ryan Callahan blocked six shots and threw five hits. Brandon Dubinsky scored two goals. Centerman Artem Anisimov blocked four shots and he and Callahan assisted on both of Dubinsky’s goals. Callahan’s assists increased his points scoring streak to a career high seven games. Brandon Prust was a forechecking demon, as he threw two hits and assisted on Erik Christensen’s game-winner at 6:36 of the third period. Steve Eminger, who Tortorella praised before the game, threw six hits and played a mean-edged game in the defensive zone.

“It’s a team. Everyone’s playing for one another,” Tortorella said after the Rangers improved to 6-4-1 this season. “That’s a good thing early in the year. We (have) to keep building on.

“Everyone contributed.”

A trait that the Rangers appear to be developing is a mental toughness that was not apparent for most of 2009-10.

Thirty seconds after Patrick Kane tied the game at 2-2 with an off-the-boards prayer that somehow found space under Henrik Lundqvist’s pads and rolled into the cage at 6:08 of the third period, Christensen ripped a laser over Marty Turco (20 saves). The play was made by Prust beating a Blackhawks defender to the corner. He threw the puck to Christensen, who held onto the disc long enough to let Brian Campbell slide out of position before rifling it over Turco.

“We showed it right from the pre-season that we’re resilient. We have a different mindset about us. Last year is in the past. This year, obviously we’ve found a way to get the job done and that’s the most important thing,” Dubinsky said. “You have to be confident. You have to be consistent and I think the biggest thing is knowing that your teammates are going to step up and play the way they need to every night and just feeding off that.”

“That’s a big league goal by a very talented player,” added Tortorella. “There’s a number of players in this league that are going to shoot it into the shin pads and not make that move. I thought it was a terrific move—I think it was on Campbell—(and) a lot of guys would be shooting at the shin pads and he buries it in the top shelf.”

Lundqvist made 33 saves, none more important than the handful the flurry of Chicago shots in the dying seconds. As the puck cleared the zone, Lundqvist tilted his head up towards the ceiling and exhaled.

“I guess you realize you’re going to get the win and a lot of work goes into a win, especially against a good team like this,” Lundqvist said with a huge smile on his face. “I think everybody pulled together tonight and it’s just a great feeling.”

The Rangers came into the game second in the league in blocked shots (190) and hits (292). They added 33 blocks and 35 hits to those to totals against the speedy and skilled Blackhawks. Chicago outshot the Rangers 35-23 for the game. But the Rangers tightened up in the defensive and neutral zones after the first 20 minutes. Chicago outshot the Rangers 22-16 in the last two periods, but most of those shots were from the outside.

Tomas Kopecky scored the Blackhawks’ first goal, a power play tip with 2:47 remaining in the first period.


Rangers 3, Blackhawks 2


1 Block party — The Rangers came into the game second in the NHL in blocked shots with 190. “It’s something we want to do,” John Tortorella said. “Teams that win more consistently in the league, that’s part of their game.” Tort’s charges lived up to his praise by blocking 34 Chicago shots.

2 Get to work — Tortorella is all about outworking opponents while the team waits for Chris Drury, Marian Gaborik and Vinny Prospal to return from injuries. Brandon Prust stepped up and assisted on Erik Christensen’s third period marker, which came just 28 seconds after Patrick Kane tied up the game at 2.

3 Party line — The top line of Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov and Ryan Callahan was its usual forechecking force against the speedy Hawks. Dubinsky scored two goals. Anisimov had two assists, four blocked shots and won four faceoffs, while Callahan recorded a point in a career-best seventh straight game.

 
 
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