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Rangers Rediscover Their Fight Against Devils

The Rangers get the win they needed by outslugging New Jersey.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    AP
    Fight night was the right night for the Rangers.

    John Tortorella was awfully upset about the Devils' decision to start Monday night's game with three fighters on the ice.

    He yelled at Devils coach Peter DeBoer for his blood-lust, leading to DeBoer's pointed and amusing questions about Tort's short-term memory since the Rangers coach did the exact same thing during a recent game in Jersey, but he should have patted him on the back.

    Starting the game with a melee seemed to agree with the Rangers and propelled them to a 4-2 win that quelled some doubts about the teams' trajectory.

    Tortorella moved Stu Bickel up from defense to take the faceoff between Brandon Prust and Mike Rupp, leading to a three-way brawl the second the puck hit the ice. Silly as such synchronized fights that have nothing at all to do with the game may be, they worked out for the Rangers.

    Bickel bloodied Ryan Carter, the crowd was whipped up into a frenzy and the rest of the Rangers skaters seemed to gain some extra pep in their step after the fireworks at the open. That pep paid off a minute later when Brandon Dubinsky put a blast past Martin Brodeur for a 1-0 lead.

    Dubinsky's season has been the subject of much consternation for the Rangers this year, leading to long spells on the bench and rampant trade rumors before the deadline. He's shown some signs in recent games of getting himself together and he had a very strong night on Monday to help the Rangers get a win.

    Mats Zuccarello hasn't been on minds for the entire season, but he's starting to bore his way into people's heads since arriving on the scene nine days ago. He scored for the second straight game and continued to show the kind of endless motor that has been a hallmark of the Rangers when they are at their best this season.

    It's hard to resist the idea of keeping Zuccarello around even when Artem Anisimov is healthy enough to return to the lineup. As we've seen in the last stretch of games, the Rangers don't have much chance to win games if they aren't outworking the other side and Zuccarello appears to have a bit more gas in his tank than some of the other guys at this point in the year.

    Everyone looked like they were running full on Monday night, which likely had a lot to do with the way the game began. The Rangers needed something to snap them out of their doldrums and they got it from the Devils coach and from their own tough guys.

    Not something you'd like to see every night, but the destination certainly made the getting there seem just fine.

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.