Give Marian Gaborik credit. When given a second shance to go one-on-one with Phoenix goaltender Mike Smith Tuesday night at The Garden, Gaborik took advantage of the opportunity, and in the process helped the Rangers secure an extra point in the standings.
With 1:50 to go in overtime Tuesday Gaborik was awarded a penalty shot after being hooked from behind by Phoenix defenseman Adrian Aucoin on a breakaway. With the crowd at Madison Square Garden roaring and on its collective feet, Gaborik made a gorgeous move that forced Smith to the ice. However as Gaborik fired the puck towards the seemingly-open net, Smith dove and reached as far as he could with his stick, and somehow deflected Gaborik's shot away, keeping the score tied 1-1 in the process, and stunning nearly everyone in attendence.
"I saw Gaby make that move and go to shoot and I just figured goal, the game is over," said Derek Stepan. "Then he sprawls out and makes that stick save, and it's like 'wow, good save'!"
When the game went to the shootout, Rangers head coach John Tortorella made sure to include Gaborik as his third-round shooter. And when Gaborik's turn came up, it just so happened that the game was on the line as the Rangers trailed 1-0 in the shootout and were down to their final shooter.
And this time Gaborik was not to be denied.
Skating with speed right at Smith, Gaborik backed the Phoenix goalie towards his cage before rifling a shot between Smith's pads to even the shootout and set the stage for Stepan's eventual winner in the sixth round.
"I just tried to refocus and tried to forget about that first one because it was bothering me obviously, it was frustrating," explained Gaborik. "After I didn't score i just tried to refocus and it was a big shot because it was a chance to keep us in the game. So I just focused on that, and I am glad it worked out."