Third Time's the Charm for Rangers

Gaborik's hat trick leads Rangers to first win of the season

It didn't take long to figure out that John Tortorella was pulling out all the stops for a win in the third Rangers game of the season. 

The team's first line featured Rick Nash, Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik skating together, a textbook case of putting all your eggs in one basket with the hope that the talent in that basket is enough to overwhelm what the Bruins throw your way. The bet paid off for Tortorella. 

Gaborik scored three goals, including the game-winner 27 seconds into overtime, and the Rangers got their first victory of the season by a 4-3 count. With a date against the Flyers Thursday night, they've got a chance to even things up and pretty much reboot things after those two lopsided losses to start the year. 

Will we see the line of stars make another appearance on Thursday night? When they play as well as they did on Wednesday, it's a tempting prospect. 

Gaborik's style of game is so focused on scoring that it makes him a permanent target by a portion of the fanbase that thinks any game without a goal from him equals a game where he simply wasn't playing hard. A seriously skewed viewpoint, especially when you see how hard he worked for all three of his goals on Wednesday. 

Nash didn't get a goal, but he had an assist and you could see the kind of impact he is able to have on a game with his mixture of size and speed. Once you throw in the defense and Richards, it's hard to imagine too many defenses that are going to be able to keep the puck out of the net all night against that line. 

The issue with playing that trio together is that it leaves the shelves pretty barren on the other lines. The Ryan Callahan line looked okay Wednesday, mostly because Callahan helped bring the jam back to the Rangers game after two duds, but the final two lines provided zero to the effort. 

Spreading the talent around the team would seem to be the optimal way to approach things as it avoids any easy stretches for the defense, but you can understand why that might not be totally true in this season. With the lockout robbing the team of an offseason, there's something to be said for damning the chemistry and just rolling with the best players as much as possible. 

It worked on Wednesday and that means we'll see more of it down the road. Win or lose, it's hard to argue with putting your fate in the hands of your best players. 

Josh Alper is also a writer for Pro Football Talk. You can follow him on Twitter.

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