Maybe Olli Jokinen will provide the Rangers with some much-needed scoring punch at some point, but through one game, it hasn’t happened yet. The Rangers capped their West Coast trip with yet another loss yesterday, and once again Marian Gaborik scored the only goal. In the three games against Phoenix, Colorado, and Los Angeles, Gaborik scored all but one the Rangers’ goals. That’s what we get for half-jokingly embracing the concept of a one-man team.
The Kings’ first goal was especially curious. With a five-on-four power play, John Tortorella sent five forwards onto the ice, with Jokinen and Chris Drury manning the points. Unsurprisingly, Drury got caught out of position, and Anze Kopitar streaked down the ice on what became a gift breakaway. Ryan Smyth would add a third-period goal before Gaborik cut the lead to 2–1 with 2:37 remaining. (It’s worth noting that Gaborik scored with Erik Christensen, not Jokinen, on the ice with him — and that the two of them have actually meshed quite well as line mates of late.) But as we find ourselves saying on a pretty regular basis these days, one man can only do so much.
If the Rangers performance over the past week — or through the first 57 games of the season, really — can be summed up in one line, it came from Sam Rosen last night. In the third period, when the score was still 1–0 Los Angeles, the first line had control of the puck in the Kings’ zone before an errant pass from Vinny Prospal led to this: “That pass hit Gaborik in the chest!” We feel compelled to note that the puck was on edge, and that Prospal redeemed himself with a perfect pass to Ryan Callahan with twelve seconds left that could have led to a game-tying goal, but that line is pretty symbolic of where this team is right now. Marian Gaborik scores goals, and everyone else? Well, sometimes they hit him in the chest when trying to feed him the puck. That Olli Jokinen scoring outburst can’t come soon enough.