Gaborik talks offense, and defensive errors too
Like many New York Rangers supporters, Marian Gaborik shut off
the TV after a long, frustrating, disappointing night and went to
And just like many full-throated fans who taunted Washington
Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau during Game 4 on Wednesday night,
when the Rangers held a seemingly comfortable three-goal lead,
Gaborik never expected his night would turn so badly after it
started out so well.
Never known for his play in the defensive end, Gaborik was
trying to do the right thing in the second overtime of Game 4. The
Rangers were trying to pull out a win that would have evened the
series 2-2 and one they thought they had in the bag when they
jumped out to a 3-0 edge – a lead they held after two periods that
included a long-awaited goal from top-line forward Gaborik.
On what appeared to be an innocent play in the New York end, a
puck deflected toward the Rangers net, and Gaborik went after it.
Gaborik didn’t realize that goalie Henrik Lundqvist had matters
under control and was primed to cover the puck to stop play.
Gaborik didn’t see Lundqvist, and didn’t hear him, either, when
he stuck his stick into the crease to sweep the puck out of danger.
But what else Gaborik didn’t see was Capitals forward Jason
Chimera, who blocked the clearing attempt, got the puck on his
stick, and knocked in the winning goal 12:36 into double
Instead of being tied 2-2, the Rangers are down 3-1 in the
series and will be facing elimination in Game 5 on Saturday in
”I just went home, watched the replay because I didn’t see it
at the rink,” Gaborik said of how he spent the rest of Wednesday.
”I had dinner and went to bed. It was a tough one to swallow, but
you’ve just got to move by it. You can’t look back and beat
yourself up with it.”
Unfortunately for Gaborik, there are plenty of others willing to
take shots at the star forward.
Last season, his first with the Rangers after he signed a
five-year, $37.5 million deal to leave Minnesota, Gaborik led the
offense with 42 goals and a career-best 44 assists in 76 games. It
wasn’t enough to get New York back into the playoffs, but those
were the kinds of numbers people expected from him and were often
missing from other high-priced free agents who excelled elsewhere
but failed in New York.
This season is when the disappointment set in. Injuries limited
Gaborik to 62 games, and when he played, he didn’t produce the way
he had before. He had 22 goals and 48 points, but 10 of those goals
were scored in three games – including a four-goal outburst on Jan.
19 against Toronto and two other hat tricks.
Gaborik had no goals in the final nine games of the regular
season and only one assist in the first three games of the series
against Washington before his second-period tally gave the Rangers
a 2-0 lead on Wednesday.
He had a quick one-timer during a power play that was stopped by
goalie Michal Neuvirth and a few other near misses, too.
”I feel good,” Gaborik said. ”The chances were there. It’s
too bad a couple of those didn’t go in, but you just have to carry
it over. The play at the end of the game, it’s a bad bounce there.
I just have to kind of jump over it and put it behind and just
focus on the next game.
”It is what is. You just have to go forward.”
Even though the Rangers’ power play has been basically
nonexistent against the Capitals, Gaborik had good reason to think
things were turning around for him. It is ironic that a failed
defensive play put him back in a spot to be criticized.
”It happened,” Rangers coach John Tortorella said Thursday.
”Hank wanted to tie it up, Gabby didn’t realize it. You guys can
beat that up as much as you want. It’s just a flukey play. Call it
for what it is.”
The Rangers tried to sound upbeat Thursday, as they did after
returning home before Game 3 following losses in the first two
games of the series in Washington. The feelings and belief are
still there, even though the stakes have been raised and the margin
for error eliminated.
With two days off before Game 5, the Rangers stayed off the ice
Thursday and began the process of looking ahead instead of dwelling
on the past.
”That’s what we do. We’re professionals,” Gaborik said.
”Everybody has got to move by these things. We have our next game
on Saturday and we want to do everything so we can come up with a
win. We need one win and just go from there.”