Saturday, December 22, 2007
17-14-4: Rangers Survive Avalanche (Barely)
So, as I spent this fine Friday evening at home watching the game, my points are essentially train of thought watching the game. Hopefully they make some sense. Because the Rangers certainly aren't: how they could be so undisciplined in Minnesota and so solid the next night is astounding. Losing in overtime sucks, but a) at least it went to overtime so we still earned a point and b) no one scored five goals against us. So I'll call the evening a success. Here's what I saw:
*Hahaha, one night after being embarrassed by the best player on Minnesota, the Rangers try to take out the top player on Colorado in the first shift (with a high stick on Stastny). Who said old time hockey is dead?
*Say I am harping on him and I am, but I find it funny to see the trainers working on Jagr. I think they are trying to find the Tin Man's heart. I think it was replaced by that C they mistakenly sewed onto his jersey. He played a few decent minutes and then allowed himself to be marginalized yet again; definitely not the way to be the leader of the team.
*Has anyone thought that maybe the movie "Invincible" is based on a true story and Petr Prucha secretly is the superhero played by Bruce WIllis? The guy gets thrown around like a rag doll and is still playing, its amazing and unnatural.
*Wow, Rangers cycle and take a shot on the power play and they score. Amazing how that works. Too bad they forget how to do it once they are on the ice in the Garden. 1-0 thanks to Shanny's one-timer from Gomez.
*The 5-on-3 penalty kill at the end of the first period was hugely impressive, with Toots going down to cut off passing lanes, Betts wearing himself out and Girardi plugging the middle. However, look at it from the point of view of a Colorado fan and you just watched the Rangers power play waste time, pass, pass, pass and take a poor shot before seeing the puck get cleared. Kinda sad ...
*So the Aves tied the game at one on a tic-tac-toe play. It was a nice goal but came with the Rangers having slid out of position, with Rozy low and Staal cheating high on the same side. With him cheating, the middle was open and the pass went into the slot to the sniper Milan Hejduk and that was that.
*And Hejduk made it 2-1 on the same kind of chip shot from the slot after another great passing play. Paul Stastny is really, really good. So was his dad. I really liked Peter Stastny, he is one of the reasons why I wear No. 26 on my jersey; the guys who usually don 26 are the ones who embody the qualities I love in the game - hard work, dedication and fearlessness.
*Wow, I type that and Rozy scores. There is no denying that he has a great shot. I just wish he could play defense too.
*Oh baby, Gomez put the Rangers ahead! I just got a message from a friend that I have to start being nice to him now but I'm not ready to. He needs to be consistent before I do that.
*Ryan Hollweg vs. Ian Laperriere = solid scrap. It would be spectacular to think that Ryan is a younger version of Ian, who has put together a really respected, yeoman-like career as a tough, solid checking forward who stands up for his teammates.
*I didn't mention it before, but if you didn't see the game. Dubi got into a fight too. He was standing up for Pru and ended up battling Cody McLeod to a draw. Definitely better than his pathetic attempt against Luke Richardson earlier in the year.
*You know, for all of the talk about the Rangers going after Jon Mike Liles, the guy seemed to enjoy doing the second period intermission interview with Sam and Joe. He was articulate and interesting. Might be nice to have an American guy like that on the blue line. Bye bye Malik ...
*Man, that's rough seeing Colorado equalize at three. The Rangers started scrambling in their own zone, the forwards didn't keep the Aves in check enough and Girardi tried to step up to the shooter, leaving Marek Svatos open to score on Hank who had bit on the initial shot.
*There are going to be some people out there, you know who you are who are going to go off on Hank. No, he is not the impenetrable wall he was at the start of the season, but he has - for the most part - been giving the Rangers a chance to win and that is all that you want. The Rangers success shouldn't have to hinge so closely on his ability to limit the other team to just one or two goals a game.
*And you can't blame Hank for the game winner, the Rangers blew their defensive assignments, scrambling for a bouncing puck. Whatever, as Sam said, the Rangers got a point out of the game and that's all you can ask for at this point.
*I said it before, I will say it again and defend it if needed: Chris Drury has been underachieving and was disappointing yet again. He had one good chance but often he was scrambling to find his place on the ice.
*PHW Three Stars:
3-Petr Budaj - 20 saves
2-Hejduk - two goals
1-Wojtek Wolski - game-winning goal
Scotty Hockey Three Stars:
3-Jeff Finger/Scott Hannan/Liles - all three were rock solid on D for the Aves.
2-Gomez - Ok, I will give credit where due, he made some really nice plays and showed signs of being a good player. Don't get ahead of yourselves!
1-Wolski - he played 25 minutes and still was fresh in the OT, I'm impressed.