By Brian Monzo
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For most of the this current six game winning streak, the Rangers have played great hockey. There have also been moments when they haven’t been the best team on the ice, but the results have been the same. In the end, getting the two points is all that really matters. Right now, the Rangers are 9-3-3, including a home record of 5-1-1. The most intriguing part of the Rangers success is that they’ve been this good without their top defenseman Marc Staal.
That’s because of the play of perhaps their most consistent and underrated defenseman Dan Girardi. Girardi has become one of the premier two way defenseman in league. Girardi’s averaging close to 25 minutes of ice-time and has been used on both the power play and the penalty kill. Of his eight points this season, four of them are on the power play.
Girardi for the past few seasons has been used as Staal’s partner, but with Staal out, he has been playing with the outstanding sophomore Ryan McDonagh. He was a top shot blocking last season, blocking 236 shots. This season, through 15 games, he has 38 blocks. If you ask anyone, especially Henrik Lundqvist or Marty Biron, that is a heroic and invaluable stat.
There have been a ton of positive things to talk about, especially throughout this six game winning streak, but another huge reason for it has been the play of the Marian Gaborik-Derek Stepan-Artem Anisimov line. The ‘GAS,’ line, as they are being billed, have been dynamic since they’ve been put together. Stepan is finding himself to be a premier set up man, Gaborik has found his scoring touch and Anisimov has been responsible on both ends of the ice. Giving John Tortorella the ability to split up Brad Richards and Gaborik has been key, allowing him to separate his two top offensive players.
And Brandon Dubinsky finally scored a goal…and so did Sean Avery.
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Who do you credit for the Rangers winning streak?