By Larry Fleisher
PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
NEW YORK (Ticker) — A year ago, the New York Rangers were
unsure of what they had in Brandon Dubinsky. Now, they have a
player who seems to have a knack for scoring clutch goals.
Dubinsky scored the game-winning goal and collected two assists
as the Rangers posted a 4-2 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks
on Friday night.
Defenseman Wade Redden and Nikolai Zherdev also tallied in their
home debuts with the Rangers, who are 3-0-0 for the first time
since 1989-90. The Rangers have won their last four opening
games at Madison Square Garden.
Aaron Voros chipped in with a goal and an assist and Henrik
Lundqvist made 30 saves for New York, which began the campaign
last weekend in Prague, Czech Republic with a pair of 2-1 wins
over Tampa Bay.
“It feels good to get in here and get some confidence with new
teammates,” Lundqvist said. “So far, it’s going good.”
Patrick Kane and defenseman Duncan Keith scored for Chicago,
which fell to 15-21-6 in season openers on the road.
“We knew our assignments, but we just didn’t do it,” Blackhawks
coach Denis Savard said. “We had about 30 shots and we probably
missed the net 10 to a dozen times. We had good chances where
we could have buried some of them. We had enough chances to
Voros snapped a 1-1 tie 5:15 into the second period with his
first goal in 37 games dating to December 26 while a member of
the Minnesota Wild. After setting up Voros’ tally, Dubinsky
gave the Rangers some breathing room by scoring on a breakaway
with 4:35 remaining in the session.
It turned out to be Dubinsky’s second career winning goal. His
first came last Saturday, when he tallied on the power play in
the third period vs. the Lightning.
“What I see now is a kid that does not want to let this
opportunity go,” New York coach Tom Renney said. “That bodes
well for us.”
Dubinsky’s goal gave the Rangers a 3-1 lead, but they struggled
to clear their own zone and saw the advantage shrink to one when
Keith beat Lundqvist from the slot at 7:13 of the third period.
Dubinsky, who scored 14 goals in his rookie season, helped seal
the win by picking up an assist on a goal by Zherdev, who beat
goaltender Cristobal Huet to the glove side with a wrist shot
from the top of the slot at 9:33.
After registering one shot on goal in 9 1/2 minutes of action in
the home opener last season, Dubinsky tied a career high with
three points in this one.
“The home opener for me last year, I was scared,” he said. “I
got out there and I was really nervous. I think I might have
fallen like three times in my first four shifts. But it doesn’t
really change too much either.
“Obviously, you build up all summer and all training camp to
have this night. It’s a nerve-racking night and you want to
show your fans what you can do.”
Huet turned aside 25 shots for the Blackhawks, who fell to
15-21-6 in season openers on the road.
“It’s not the end result we wanted,” said Huet, who signed a
lucrative four-year contract over the summer. “It’s
disappointing to lose the first one.”
Redden opened the scoring by burying the rebound of captain
Chris Drury’s shot from the right faceoff circle at 6:47 of the
first. Lundqvist made several big saves to preserve the lead,
including one on a shot by Patrick Sharp during a 2-on-1 rush
midway through the period, but allowed the equalizer late.
Defenseman Brian Campbell carried the puck down the left wing
and banked it off the side of the net. The puck went directly
to Kane, who fired it past Lundqvist from the bottom of the left
circle with 2:42 remaining to forge a 1-1 tie.
Voros put New York back in front at 5:15 of the second.
Dubinsky stole the puck from Dave Bolland in the offensive zone
and dished it to Voros, who beat Huet with a one-timer from one
“I saw (Voros) right away,” Dubinsky said. “It was rolling on
me. A puck like that is not easy to shoot. He made a real nice
shot and scored a big goal for us.”
Voros was impressed with his linemate’s performance.
“He’s got a lot of confidence,” Voros said. “He played with a
couple of phenomenal players (in Jaromir Jagr and Scott Gomez
last season), and it was the biggest thing for him.”