Well, for just the second time this season, I missed a home game. However, I did manage to watch most of it on MSG so I can still rant and rave:
*In linking the first game I missed this year at the top, I noticed that a lot of the old pictures that I had used were gone - Yahoo cleaning out their servers. I will try to dub and up the shots myself henceforth but the source is still Yahoo/AP/whomever unless I specify otherwise. And of course Yahoo barely has any shots up of this game so pics will have to wait until I troll the net tomorrow.
*For work I had to cover the Ottawa/Detroit game and Steve Yzerman - an Ottawa native - was honoured before the game. What a great, classy man. The Sens fans gave him a minutelong standing ovation that gave me chills. The Leetch game on the 24th should be just as amazing.
*It was utterly hilarious watching Marek Malik get burned to give the Canadiens their first scoring chance of the game. If he is trying to play himself back into the lineup, that really isn't how he should go about it.
*What a great give-and-go goal by Chris Drury to open the game's scoring. I am less surprised that he made the great play but that Marcel Hossa didn't screw it up by fumbling the puck. Is there hope for him? I don't think I am ready to go that far yet ...
*How did Mike Komisarek lose his gloves and stick midway through the first period? Was he trying to pick a fight?
*I can't begin to tell you how miserable it is for me to be typing this at work while the game is going on a block away. This sucks.
*Wow, what a second goal for the Rangers. The top line, reunited with Marty Straka back in the lineup, executed perfectly with Jagr battling with the puck, getting space for Straka to rip a shot with Gomez cutting in front of Huet for a screen. Where the hell did that come from? If the Rangers keep playing like this, the guys in my section won't let me come back!
*Have I mentioned yet today that Jagr doesn't deserve the captaincy? Well, he doesn't. As per usual, he took a stupid, lazy penalty that hurt the team - this time early in the second period that was compounded by a ridiculous penalty by Hossa. I take back what I said before, there is no hope for him. Luckily Blair Betts and the rest of the penalty killers were able to hold off the best power play in the league on a 5-on-3 to keep it a 2-0 game. (And they did it again in the second period with patience and hard work - tremendous.)
*All credit to Brandon Dubinsky. When Petr Prucha scored the Rangers third goal the referee waved it off initially. Dubi kept skating and the Rangers maintained pressure deep in the Montreal zone for over a minute. Of course, at the next whistle the play was reviewed and Pru was awarded the goal, but the effort by Dubi should not be ignored. Btw - fantastic pass by Nigel Dawes to set up Pru on the play. Dawes should rip up his return bus ticket to Hartford because he clearly belongs in the big time.
*I type that and Dawes snaps a shot through Huet to give the Rangers an obscene 4-0 lead. I say obscene because I am at work and will take an insane amount of flack from everyone around me when I show up for Wednesday's game.
*After being entirely enamored with the defensive pairing of Girardi and Tuytin, I have to say that Staal and Girardi aren't that bad. Granted Staal took some silly penalties early, but the two seemed to adapt to each other well. When Renney benches Malik for the next game, he should put Toots next to Rozy. At least Toots will make up for Rozy's defensive lapses.
*The Rangers chased Huet to start the third period. Wow, when was the last time that happened??? I checked: December 29th when we hammered the Leafs 6-1 was the last and the other was Dec. 1st when the boys beat Ottawa in their best game all season, a 5-2 win. That is it, through 45 games ... kinda sad considering the names on our roster.
*I wish I was surprised but Montreal gets on the scoreboard on a power play with both Hossa and Malik on the ice, the latter entirely missing his cover. Superstar!! Gotta hope he buys Hank a hooker or something to make up for blowing that had been shaping up to be a strong shutout.
*As much as I am pleased that Greg Moore is getting a shot, I didn't realize he was in the game until late in the third period. Maybe it is time for the Rangers to give P.A. Paranteau a shot ...
*Well, it doesn't matter as the Rangers wrapped things up and finally won! As the line from Slap Shot goes, "That ends the longest losing streak ever!!"
*One last note before the stars - as the Rangers walked into the locker room, Sean Avery was standing there giving pounds with his bum wrist. Let's hope that that is a sign that he will be back sooner rather than later.
*PHW Three Stars
3-Hank - 18 saves.
2-Pruuuuuuuuu - one goal.
1-Druuuuuuuuu - one goal.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Rozy - didn't make any defensive mistakes that cost the team despite playing alongside the error-prone Big Foot and clocking a game-high 25:02 of ice time.
2-Nigel Dawes - goal and an assist while being defensively responsible and energetic in less than 10 minutes of ice time. The line with Dubi and Pru should be a keeper ...
1-Drury - for once I have to agree with Joe and say that that was probably the best game he has played as a Ranger. He was responsible defensively, crashed the crease and scored a pretty goal. Impressive. Most impressive.