By Larry Fleisher
PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
NEW YORK (Ticker) — Brandon Dubinsky came tantalizing close to
ending his lengthy scoring slump in the first period. When he
had another opportunity in the second, he finally ended it.
Dubinsky scored 75 seconds into the session and added an assist
as the New York Rangers handed the Phoenix Coyotes their sixth
straight loss with a 4-1 triumph on Monday.
Nikolai Zherdev also had a season-high three assists as the
Rangers avoided their first three-game losing streak of the
season. Defenseman Dan Girardi scored a power-play goal midway
through the third and penalty-killer Blair Betts tallied in the
“The effort was good,” Rangers coach Tom Renney said. “The
intentions was good. The outcome was great.”
After missing the last five games with an ankle injury, Scott
Gomez added an empty-net goal with 28 seconds remaining to seal
Henrik Lundqvist made 35 saves for the Rangers, who had allowed
10 goals in their previous two contests. It was Lundqvist’s
first start since allowing five goals on 16 shots to Vancouver
and it marked the 17th time in 20 games he allowed two goals or
Enver Lisin scored the lone goal for Phoenix, which fell to
0-4-2 its last six games. The Coyotes, who have scored 48 goals
have been outscored 23-10, during this skid.
“I can see they are getting a little bit frustrated,” Phoenix
coach Wayne Gretzky said. “We can’t seem to find ways to score
goals right now.”
“We had than enough opportunities to do that (score) in the
first period,” Coyotes captain Shane Doan added. “We played
really well and we had some opportunities to be up two or three
Dubinsky had not scored in exactly a month when he recorded the
game-winner at Columbus. That was 14 games ago and entering
Monday, he had just four points in that span.
In this one, he posted his fourth multi-point game of the season
but first since collecting two assists at Detroit on October 18.
Dubinsky’s frustration continued 86 seconds into the contest
when he hit the left post despite having a point-blank
opportunity. Just over a minute later, he fought Phoenix
enforcer Daniel Carcillo and while he was in the penalty box,
the Coyotes took a 1-0 lead when Lisin tapped in his own
re-direction attempt of Olli Jokinen’s at 4:08 of the first.
“I don’t want to make it a habit,” Dubinsky said. “It seems
like there’s been a couple the last little while. Sometimes
when the puck’s not going in for you and you’re squeezing your
stick a little bit, you want to mix it up a little bit and do
some other things.”
After Betts tied it with 6:27 remaining in the first, Dubinsky
ended his lengthy drought by working a give-and-go with Zherdev.
After passing to Zherdev, he skated around the net and scored on
a wraparound, squirting the puck through Ilya Bryzgalov’s pads
for his fifth goal of the season.
“It feels good,” Girardi said. “We were tied and then we didn’t
look back after that one.”
Dubinsky also had a little help on his goal as defenseman Ed
Jovanovski put it in while trying to clear it off the goal line.
“I felt good from the start,” Dubinsky said. “It was certainly
nice to get the goal. I think maybe the hockey gods helped me
out a little bit after I had a few chances there. It went
through the goalie and the guy (Jovanovski) knocked it in with
the tip of his stick. It’s nice and hopefully this is a sign to
Unlike several of their previous games in the last two weeks,
the Rangers did not wait until they faced a two-goal deficit to
start a comeback.
“We played a very solid second and third,” Lundqvist said. “The
first period was better than usual. The goal was very
important. We established momentum after that goal.”
They started it when Betts deked Bryzgalov for New York’s first
goal in the opening 20 minutes in eight games.
The Rangers sealed it at 7:57 of the third when Dubinsky
screened Bryzgalov, allowing Girardi to blast a shot from the