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For the Rangers, a One-Man Team Is Better Than a Zero-Man Team

It wasn't long ago when we lamented the fact that the Rangers were basically Marian Gaborik and a bunch of guys taking up space on the ice around Marian Gaborik. But after watching way too many games in January in which no one at all scored — Gaborik included — we might be willing to get onboard with the concept of a one-man team. It sure beats having a zero-man team.

In last night's 3–1 win over Colorado, Gaborik scored all three goals for his first hat trick with the Rangers. Give credit to Chad Johnson for ably filling in for an ailing Henrik Lundqvist (and for earning his first career victory), and kudos to Mark Staal and Vinny Prospal for setting up Gaborik's nifty second goal, but without No. 10, the Rangers would have lost yet again. And on Saturday night, the Rangers almost came back from a 3–0 third-period deficit, thanks largely to Gaborik, who scored one of the Rangers' two goals and damn near tied it with 1:26 remaining when his mid-air swat clanged off the post. One man can only do so much.

Help, however, might be on the way. As of last night, the Rangers had a tentative deal to send Chris Higgins and Ales Kotalik to the Flames for Olli Jokinen and Brandon Prust. Jokinen, presumably, would get a shot to center the top line between Gaborik and Prospal, though the trade is currently in limbo. (Perhaps someone in Calgary got some tape on Higgins and Kotalik and had second thoughts.) You may as well root for it to go through, though: Any little bit of help — for the Rangers and for Gaborik — is welcome.

Photo: Jack Dempsey/AP