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Rangers Finally Get Their First Win

Henrik Lundqvist stands on his head for a 4-0 win in Vancouver

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    The King gets a win a long way from his castle.

    It's too bad the Rangers don't get frequent flier miles for their team flights.

    If they did, there would be some pretty fantastic vacation plans in the future for members of the team. Thanks to their preseason tour in Europe, two opening games in Prague and a trip out to Vancouver for Tuesday night's game, they traveled 10,717 miles in the air in less than a month.

    Thanks to the renovations at the Garden, they'll travel 5,071 more miles on a four-game Canadian road trip before playing their first home game of the season. All of that travel would leave most people a bit flat and the Rangers certainly looked that way with three losses in their first three games (one regulation, one OT and one shootout) before hitting the ice in Vancouver.

    Most of them looked flat for the first two periods against the Canucks, but Henrik Lundqvist figured something out. He was brilliant, making save after save while his mates could barely put a puck on net at the other end of the ice, and the score remained tied at 0 entering the third period.

    That's when the jet lag finally wore off for the Rangers. They poured in four goals against Roberto Luongo and skated off to a 4-0 victory that surprisingly did not result in a riot in the streets of British Columbia.

    The win was important, allowing the Rangers to stop hearing questions about when it will come and start thinking about how to fix the problems with taking penalties and scoring on the power play that have plagued the team in their first four games. They can also take solace in knowing that, barring serious injury to Lundqvist, there's not much chance they'll face a tougher stretch than this all season.

    Travel is one thing, but they are also playing without Marc Staal, who continues to try to find his way back from a concussion suffered near the end of last season. If he can come back, increasingly this feels like a big if, they will suddenly have three strong defensemen as Ryan McDonagh has stepped into Staal's spot and produced very well this season.

    Another reason to feel good is that the Brad Richards signing appears to be working just as planned. He's scored a point-a-game and Marian Gaborik potted his third goal of the year on Tuesday night, all of which have come with assists from Richards.

    And, of course, there's Lundqvist standing back in his crease and covering up for as many sins as is humanly possible for yet another season. That's a nice ace to have in the back pocket, no matter how far you have to travel to play games in a daunting start to a hockey season.

    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.