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.”