NEW YORK — Marian Gaborik again sparked the Rangers’ offense with two goals and two assists, but this time he had lots of long-awaited help in New York’s 7-4 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday night.
After Columbus took a 2-0 lead in the first period, Gaborik got the Rangers going on their way to matching their biggest offensive output of the season following coach John Tortorella‘s timeout. The often-fiery Tortorella seemed to deliver a positive message during the break.
Whatever he said, it surely worked.
New York scored three times in the first to take the lead and then added four goals in the second against Blue Jackets starting goalie Steve Mason and beleaguered backup Mathieu Garon.
Gaborik, Artem Anisimov and rookie defenseman Michael Del Zotto wiped out the early deficit. Avery scored at 6:12 of the second period to make it 4-2 and chase Mason — last season’s NHL rookie of the year — who made only 14 saves.
Anisimov had a goal and two assists, and rookie forward P.A. Parenteau also helped set up two goals.
Garon was under siege as soon as he came in. Avery, who hadn’t scored in 15 games, added his second goal of the night just 51 seconds later on the first shot Garon faced. New York made it 2-for-2 just 20 seconds after that when Gaborik netted his second goal and 18th this season, moving him into a tie for the league lead with San Jose’s Dany Heatley.
New York scored three goals in a span of 1:11 to break it open. Avery muscled defenseman Mike Commodore off the puck and stuffed it in for his first of the game. Then he finished off a 2-on-1 for his second.
Derek MacKenzie, with his first of the season, and Jared Boll gave Columbus its 2-0 lead. Kristian Huselius scored with 1:12 left in the second to snap the Rangers’ streak of seven goals. Jakub Voracek‘s tally with 11:47 left brought the Blue Jackets to 7-4.
Columbus is 0-1-1 on its five-game road trip, which began after a three-game winning streak. The Blue Jackets lost in regulation for the first time since Nov. 11 when they were beaten 9-1 by Detroit in coach Ken Hitchcock‘s 1,000th NHL game.
With Hall of Fame New York defenseman Brian Leetch looking on, Matt Gilroy — another Rangers rookie defenseman — scored a breakaway goal at 12:47 of the second to make it 7-2. New York had three goals on its first five shots against Garon, who was bailed out later in the period when Christopher Higgins and Ryan Callahan both hit posts with shots.
When Garon finally did secure the puck with a save, he heard mock cheers from the festive Madison Square Garden crowd that had been longing to see a win. The Rangers were 4-9-1 since a seven-game winning streak ended in mid-October and they had dropped three straight at home as their offense sputtered.
Gaborik and linemate Vinny Prospal had scored each of New York’s previous goals before Anisimov broke the string and tied it 2-all at 13:37. Tortorella has been calling for the Rangers to get much-needed secondary scoring, and Anisimov’s goal snapped a stretch of 212 minutes, 19 seconds over four games since someone other than Gaborik or Prospal found the net.
New York had scored only 18 goals overall in its previous 10 games (3-7).
The Rangers also scored seven goals in an Oct. 12 home win over Toronto. … Boll also had an assist and two fights for Columbus. … Huselius was checked hard, face-first into the post at the end of the Rangers bench by Higgins in the third period. He skated off on his own. … Columbus star forward Rick Nash was on the ice for four Rangers goals.