Carl Hagelin wasn’t just in a scoring drought — the Rangers forward was in the desert, with no water in sight for miles.
The speedy and gifted Swede failed to score in the Rangers’ final 29 games last season and managed just one goal in the first 10 contests this year.
In the last four, however, he has notched five goals, performing like the Rangers’ best forward, coach John Tortorella said. It’s no coincidence the Rangers have gained seven of a possible eight points in that span.
“He’s a big player for us,” Tortorella said.
In last night’s come-from-behind, 2-1 victory over the Capitals at the Garden, he got the Rangers’ rally started. Hagelin dug the puck out from behind the net, then snuck behind the defense for a tap-in of a Ryan McDonagh feed at the doorstep 7:39 into the second period.
Hagelin doesn’t feel he has performed that much better over the first five games than he did in the last four, though he admitted to poor play in the first four games of the lockout-shortened season. He attributes his success to getting fortunate bounces rather than anything different he’s doing.
“It’s more playing well that builds up confidence for me,” he said. “When you feel good, continue on playing well, goals are going to come.”
Tortorella deserves at least some credit for Hagelin’s turnaround. Moving the 24-year-old, second-year pro onto a line with left wing Rick Nash and center Derek Stepan five games ago has sparked Hagelin.
“He’s one of the best players in the world, so it’s always going to help,” Hagelin said of Nash. “He’s so strong on the puck, you can see how other teams have so much respect for him, and then he can make plays.
Blueshirts’ Hagelin finds offensive groove
New York Post | Feb 18