NEW YORK -- The New York Rangers took the ice hoping to avoid their worst losing streak of the season.
Whether it was a benching three nights earlier or the realization that his team needed him to raise his game, Gaborik heeded the call and had a night to remember.
Gaborik busted out with four goals and an assist, and the Rangers scored four times in the first period en route to a 7-0 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday.
New York, which had lost two straight, finished a stretch of five games in nine days before a three-game trip.
Just a few hours after the Rangers said Dubinsky would be out three to four weeks because of a stress fracture in his left leg, Gaborik picked up the slack as coach John Tortorella had been begging him to do.
"It feels good," said Gaborik, who went eight games without a goal. "It has been a battle lately. I need to get going. It is always a big relief to get the first one. It just took off from there."
Giguere finished the period, but resumed his seat on the bench at the start of the second. Gustavsson was touched for Gaborik's final two goals that gave him 15 overall and three hat tricks this season. He has 13 in the NHL.
Toronto had two fruitless power plays before the Rangers took over.
"We started well, but there was a giveaway and our defense got overwhelmed in the first period," Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson said. "Basically, the game was over at 4-0. They made us look silly."
Gaborik's new linemates, Artem Anisimov and Sean Avery, also enjoyed big production. Anisimov had four assists to give him a career high in points for a game, and Avery chipped in with three assists. Mats Zuccarello closed the scoring 53 seconds into the third.
Henrik Lundqvist had a quiet night, facing only 22 shots to earn his seventh shutout of the season and likely the easiest of his 31 career NHL blankings. Boyle and Gaborik scored on the power play, a unit that produced twice in 32 chances before the Leafs came to town.
Lundqvist has five shutouts in 20 outings.
Gustavsson allowed six goals on 25 shots -- three on 11 shots in the first period. Toronto is 0-2-1 since a four-game winning streak and has given up at least five goals three times in seven contests.
"We started OK and then we gave up the first one and they just poured it on us," Toronto forward Phil Kessel said. "It was just not a good game for us and we've got to be better."
Gaborik had only three goals and six assists in 19 games since his previous hat trick Dec. 2 against the New York Islanders. That led to Tortorella sitting him out for most of the second period of a 3-2 loss to Philadelphia on Sunday.
The Rangers had scored two goals or fewer in eight of the previous nine games, going 4-4-1 -- including a 1-3 rut before Wednesday.
Gaborik got things going with 9:05 left in the first when he deftly maneuvered at the right post around Gustavsson, who had lost his stick. Boyle made it 2-0 1:50 later, tipping in Marc Staal's shot for his career-best 16th goal.
Gaborik finished the first scoring burst only 36 seconds after that when Anisimov fed a brilliant backhand pass from behind the net to him alone at the right post.
Giguere came on and immediately turned aside a 2-on-1.
Fedotenko stretched the lead to 4-0 with 4:20 left in the first. Gaborik then scored from a tough, low angle by squeezing a shot between Gustavsson's pads at 11:16 of the second. Gaborik made it 6-0 at 14:44 during a power play.
Toronto nearly got on the board 1:35 into the third, but Clarke MacArthur's goal was waved off because he hit the puck with a high stick.
"They got a couple of chances," Lundqvist said. "I wanted to get a shutout."
|Artem Anisimov (42) celebrates with winger Marian Gaborik, who just notches a hat trick before finishing with four goals. (AP)|
|NY Rangers (27-18-3) «||4||2||1||7|
Save Pct.: 1.000
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|10:55||- Marian Gaborik (12), Wrist Shot. Assist: Avery, Anisimov|
|12:45||Power Play - Brian Boyle (16), Tip-In. Assist: Staal, Gaborik|
|13:21||- Marian Gaborik (13), Wrist Shot. Assist: Anisimov, Avery|
|15:40||- Ruslan Fedotenko (9), Slap Shot. Assist: Prust, Staal|
|11:15||- Marian Gaborik (14), Snap Shot. Assist: Avery, Anisimov|
|14:44||Power Play - Marian Gaborik (15), Wrist Shot. Assist: Anisimov, Wolski|
|53.0||- Mats Zuccarello (3), Snap Shot. Assist: Stepan, Wolski|
|03:13||Newbury, 2 min, Boarding|
|07:44||Drury, 2 min, Delay of Game - Puck Over Glass|
|12:16||Orr, 2 min, Interference|
|20:00||Boyce, 2 min, Roughing|
|07:32||Schenn, 5 min, Fighting|
|07:32||Weise, 5 min, Fighting|
|13:20||Orr, 2 min, Charging|
|04:16||Gilroy, 2 min, Hooking|
|11:18||Newbury, 5 min, Fighting|
|11:18||Newbury, 10 min, Misconduct|
|11:18||Phaneuf, 5 min, Fighting|
|11:18||Phaneuf, 10 min, Misconduct|
|12:41||Armstrong, 2 min, Roughing|
|12:41||McDonagh, 2 min, Roughing|
|18:03||Orr, 5 min, Slashing|
|18:03||Orr, 10 min, Game Misconduct|
|Shots On Goal|
|Attendance - 18200|
|Referees - Wes McCauley, Francois St-Laurent|
|Linesmen - Tony Sericolo, Mark Shewchyk|