John Tortorella has spent his tenure as head coach of the Rangers expressing his view that there will be peaks and valleys throughout the process of reconstructing franchise.
Heading into tonight’s MSG match against Toronto, the Rangers are currently in a valley.
The Rangers are averaging a goal-and-a-half in the nine games played in January. The Rangers have a 4-4-1 mark this month.
One of the reasons that the Rangers have struggled offensively is that Marian Gaborik has only scored 11 goals and 24 points this season. Gaborik is on pace for 19 goals and 42 points this season. He finished 2009-10 with 42 goals and 86 points.
“It can’t be one of those years because this team won’t succeed if it continues. I think he’s close. I think his legs are moving. I think that’s the most important thing with Gabby. His legs and not letting the play getting caught up to him by gliding and looking for plays. More and more within his game, he’s trying to beat people and skate through the neutral zone with speed. That’s the most important part. I think that’s the most important part. I think that’s come back to his game,” Tortorella said before last Thursday’s 1-0 home win over Vancouver. “This guy, he wants to do it. It’s just a matter of getting through it.
“I think he’s close. I really do.”
In the first two games after Wojtek Wolski was acquired from Phoenix last week, Tortorella created a line of Gaborik, Derek Stepan and Wolski. The trio combined for three goals, four assists, seven points, was plus-one and 30 shots on goal before being broken up during Sunday’s 3-2 loss to Philly at the Garden.
Gaborik assisted Wolski for the game’s only goal Thursday. He snapped a behind-the-net pass to Wolski, who jammed the puck into the cage. Gaborik was also credited with six shots on goal against the Canucks, including missing high on a third period breakaway.
“He is a great player. Every time he is out there, he is a threat. He pushes the ‘D’ back,” praised Wolski. “He really makes sure that every time he is other there, they notice him.”
Gaborik was inconspicuous over the weekend in Montreal Saturday and at the Garden Sunday against Philadelphia. He only took a combined five shots in the consecutive 3-2 losses, and Tortorella limited the right wing’s ice time to 12:45 Sunday night.
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