Where in the world did that come from?! The New York Rangers scored six times in the final period against an improved Detroit Red Wings squad to win 8-2 Thursday night.
It was the type of win that a good team has after a struggling couple of weeks. Frustrated with a lack of execution on scoring chances, the Rangers’ offense erupted with almost every line contributing to the important win.
Head coach Gerard Gallant has never been disillusioned by the impact of each line on his team. His top six have a combination of some of the best players in hockey and hold the majority of the Rangers’ scoring chances. His bottom six are usually relied on to play safe, and defensive hockey.
Yet with the kid line together again on the third line, and a fourth line consisting of Goodrow and Sammy Blais, New York found plenty of offense in their bottom six. In total, the Blais, Goodrow-Guathier line tallied five points in Thursday night’s win and offered an interesting blueprint to more success down the road.
It’s easy to get caught up in a big win like Thursday’s and offer a hot take that changes quickly. For the Rangers, Thursday night showed one key thing:
Julien Gauthier has earned a spot on the big league roster.
Gauthier spent the start of the 2022-23 NHL season on the AHL roster to make room for players like Ryan Carpenter and Ryan Reaves. With that decision, New York’s fourth line has focused more on defending than actually goal scoring.
The 25-year-old winger out of Quebec has always had a series of solid offensive moves but hasn’t been able to finish throughout his career. It doesn’t even really matter if Gauthier finishes or not, he offers a unique and excellent combination to a fourth line that can reshape the entire team.
Gauthier has tallied three points to start the season and scored a goal in Thursday’s win. His speed, hustle and offensive game are things you rarely see out of a fourth liner, but it offers a much-needed boost for the team.
As Gauthier continues to play well, the lack of offense generated from Ryan Reaves and Ryan Carpenter are more pronounced. The Rangers are a group that have struggled to get offense from each line. If Gauthier plays as strong as he has, there really isn’t an argument to go away from him either.
Shouldn’t a player like Gauthier be exactly what the Rangers are looking for?