I really, really wish someone would let the Rangers know that. The Rangers tried a soft run-and-gun first period and came out down 2-1. Then they barely showed up for the second period and went down 4-1. And then the jet lag from the west coast trip magically wore off and they played a fantastic third period, coming a three, four inches (total) away from winning 5-4 (they lost 5-3). While seeing them play close to their potential in the third was utterly fantastic, it does not make up for sleep skating through the first two periods against an inferior team and rookie goaltender. So onto some other thoughts pictures forthcoming later:
*Andre Roy should be fined by the league for his actions in the penalty box in the third period. The MSG cameras only caught part of his antics - he kept jumping up and down screaming, then doing throat slashes, then pointed at his skate and did a throat slash, then grabbed his stick like he would cross check Hollweg in the face. What a piece of garbage. Goons like him give hockey a bad name. At the very, very least, the off-ice NHL official should have pointed it out to the refs so an unsportsmanlike penalty could have been added on to his 10 minute misconduct.
*Oh, what a let down - the defensive pairing of Dan Girardi and Fedor Tyutin were abominable for most of the evening. So sad to see considering how rock solid they have been all season.
*But it was great to see Malik out of the lineup. I wonder if he threw another hissy fit. Good riddance.
*As good of a lineup move that was, leaving Brendan Shanahan in was a mistake. He looked uncomfortable out there and really wasn't himself, playing at far below 100%. Having him in and healthy for Thursdays' game against the Flyers should have been paramount. Not to mention that Pierre Parenteau was already up and ready to go. If they had let the kid play, Renney could have iced the complete top scoring line of the Wolfpack with Dawes and Moore. All three of them are tearing things up in the AHL and having their familiarity with each other and their youthful zeal would have been more of a boon against the quick Lightning than a half-crippled Shanahan.
*Even though two goals were really deflected, Hank could have stopped at least three of Tampa's four goals. It appeared that his divine powers as King have left him and we are left with a mere mortal for a goaltender, and that just isn't good enough.
*Tampa fans will consider Vinny Lecavalier's pass to Marty St. Louis at the end with the empty net as him being a good teammate, but it just looked like arrogance as he skated to within five feet of the empty net before passing across to his winger for the gimme. Maybe he was trying to be nice, maybe he was trying to inflate both of their point totals, but either way it was bad sportsmanship. Kids, if you see an empty net in front of you with no one challenging you, just put it in and skate away to celebrate, there is no need to showboat - it wasn't like either one was a point away from a milestone or a hat trick or something. Have some class.
*On a side note, Nashville hammered L.A. tonight and Jed scored! He was out of the lineup for several games (I donno why) and returned to more than 16 minutes of ice time and a goal. Go Jed!
*Lightning coach John Tortorella said that his goaltender Karri "Ramo was spectacular." Well, Torts is pretty much known for being a lunatic so its of no surprise that he had to be out of his mind to say that. Gotta have a mind to start with. Ramo was jumpy to start with, gave up the early goal and spent most of the rest of the game looking behind him after every save. Plus he was beat what, three, four times more but the pucks hit posts or skittered wide. At least Ramo was more realistic, saying "It's just a matter of inches. I was kind of lucky." I'd say ...
*I don't think I can badmouth the Rangers power play any more ... well, at least any more for now. The second and third New York goals came on picture-perfect passing plays that were finished. Ramo and the Lightning didn't have a chance.
*But for as good as Drury, Gomez and Jagr were on the power play, they were atrocious at regular strength. They were all -3 ... not a top line number.
*PHW Three Stars
3-Ramo- 31 saves.
2-Rozy- goal and an assist.
1-Chris Gratton- two goals and an assist.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Paul Mara - I'm as surprised as you are but he finally, finally showed signs of being a good puck moving defenseman, notching assists on both Rangers power play goals.
2-Vinny Prospal - scored the game-winning goal on a perfect rocket of a shot.
1-The HBO line - they shut down two of the top offensive talents in the NHL.