The New York Rangers and the Phoenix Coyotes were both in action last night.
The Rangers returned to Madison Square Garden after dropping their first game in Pittsburgh by a score of 3-2. There were alot of positives out of the Penguins game but Ranger fans were expecting a win in the first home game. The new look Ottawa Senators came into to town looking to get their season started.
While there were points where the Rangers had trouble they dominated most of the game. It took until the second period for the scoring to get under way as Vinny Prospal got his first goal as a Ranger when he sniped the puck over the left shoulder of Senators goaltender Pascal LeClaire just over three minutes into the 2nd period. Brandon Dubinsky made it 2-0 halfway through the second when he roofed the puck on a semi-breakaway. Dubinsky had been working on his shot during the offseason and really showed it tonight.
Daniel Alfredsson managed to bring Ottawa within one after receiving a nice pass from Jason Spezza. Matt Gilroy was at the end of a very long shift and was beaten to the puck while the Rangers made a bad line change leaving him out to dry.
As the period was winding down Ranger fans got a boost of excitement when Michael Del Zotto slinged a wrist shot from the blue line through a maze of bodies and into the back of the net. The crowd at MSG exploded in elation as one of its young prospects made his mark. At just 19 years old Del Zotto has Ranger fans buzzing about his game.
Marian Gaborik scored and Dubinsky added an empty net goal at the end. Senators rookie Peter Regin scored his first NHL goal with just over 5 seconds left in the game as the Rangers won by a final score of 5-2. Dubinsky finished with two goals and an assist, Gaborik had a goal and assist, and Henrik Lundqvist stopped 32 of 34 shots for his first victory of the season.
On the other side of the country the Dave Tippett era was getting under way in Los Angeles as the Phoenix Coyotes visited the Kings. Radim Vrbata had a great return as he scored two goals for the Coyotes. Robert Lang, Scottie Upshall, Matthew Lombardi, and Daniel Winnik had the other three goals as Phoenix went into LA and got a big victory.
Anze Kopitar, Alexander Frolov, and Drew Doughty scored for the Kings. If there is one negative for the Phoenix Coyotes, it was their penalty kill as all three LA goals came on the man advantage. Special teams was a rough spot for the Coyotes and they will look to improve on it as the season goes on. Phoenix was one for four on the power play.
Not a bad start to the season. The Rangers head to New Jersey to take on the Devils Monday while the Coyotes go to visit the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday. The two teams have things to work on but I like what I see and other fans should too.