Thursday, January 31, 2008
25-22-6: Rangers Rebound on the Road
I've noticed that for many away games, I sit and pretty much live blog the game, which leads to long, rambling posts that cater only to the insane, I mean, the bored, I mean ... a small minority of readers. So with rare exception, I will attempt to keep these game wraps more concise, and live blog only on major occasions. I will also attempt to put pictures with each, but sometimes I don't have a ton of time or, like tonight, the news services don't shoot much.
So onto this game, which was quite puzzling. All of the intensity that the Flyers had during the 6-2 game last month was gone and the Rangers played a smart, disciplined game to win 4-0. What will be key is what happens next. The Rangers had good showings against the Devils, Penguins, and Sabres and then went on to lose to the Capitals, the Wild and the Bruins. Tomorrow brings the Devils so it will be quite the test.
Some random stuff from tonight's game:
*Either the Philly fans were still in shock that the Giants are in the Super Bowl and the Eagles aren't, or MSG's house mics were down because it sounded like a very quiet game (after the Rangers went up 4-0 it was but what about early on?). The natural arena sounds are so much more appealing than Micheletti's voice and do better to appeal to new fans. So what if you catch the occasional vulgar statement? its cable tv anyway. But then again, the audio was bad all night long - especially during the intermission interviews.
*I missed much of the first 10 minutes, as they ran opposite Jeopardy (I'm a geek). At least I feel smart while the Rangers act stupid. Penalties have been a problem for the Rangers and Tom Renney matched Colton Orr on the ice opposite Riley Cote in the opening minutes. Not the brightest move but luckily it didn't cost them. Credit given to Orr, Avery and Strudwick because all three were pestered throughout the game and none of them did something stupid to let Philly get back in the game.
*It was so nice to see Nigel Dawes score, especially a day after I say the Rangers have to forecheck harder. Chris Drury forced a turnover and got the puck up to Dawes, who got Niity to go swimming and shot it into an empty net. Lazy play by Philly, but we'll take it. I also said that the Rangers need to go hard to the net more and when the Rangers did that, Prucha scored to make it 2-0. This isn't rocket science folks, if you play hard, with heart and intensity, good things will happen.
*As several people mentioned, if the Rangers could match their fire on the power play in the final minutes of the Carolina game, they would be one of the best teams in the league. They regressed back into their pathetic, boring, predictable power play in the first period but Drury's ppg to start the second perhaps signaled a new start for the special team.
*I am a big hat person and rarely go anywhere/do anything without a ballcap on. I haven't seen mention of this elsewhere so I just want to point out that Scotty Gomez seems to rock a NYPD PAL Hockey hat during intermissions. It's a nice touch by the former Devil to show he cares for his new city.
*While I would normally cheer for the opposing player when he hits Marek Malik, I have to say that I was concerned when Lurch went down in the second period after being hit by Mike Richards (which shouldn't have been a penalty). If Malik is hurt, no one will trade for him. He didn't screw anything up and improved his stature as trade bait but they didn't mention him after he went down so maybe he was hurt. Fingers crossed - who'da thunk I'd say that ...
*The commercial for Karakos Suits was utterly spectacular. For those who didn't see it, it was just a full screen with no audio that said "These 30 seconds of peace and quiet are brought to you by Karakos Suits." Sheer genius in this age of louder, brighter, faster commercials.
*Just some speculation, brought up by tidbits mentioned during the game: Miika Wiikman has taken the starter gig in Hartford, making Al Montoya trade bait. Do you trade him to Tampa Bay for Dan Boyle or to Florida as part of a package for Olli Jokinen? The Panthers have said time and time again that they don't want to deal their captain but the rumours still persist and a Cuban goaltender might go over well in South Florida.
*You are down 4-0 with three minutes left and get a power play, why do you keep the goaltender in? I don't get that. If the Flyers scored, they would have had three minutes to try to get three goals. Not good odds, but still ... what's the difference if you lose 4-0 or 5-0?
*Vally played well, and got the shutout. He made 20 saves, gave up a few long rebounds, but the team played well in front of him and the Flyers didn't really press the action. All in all, it was a good effort by the backup and a good win.
*PHW Three Stars
3-Toots - two assists.
2-Shanny - goal.
1-Drury - goal and an assist.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Vally - as my dad said, he put up his first NHL shutout; a fantastic achievement.
2-Drury - one of his better games as a Ranger, he made his ex-boyfriend Briere jealous with solid play and fearlessness.
1-Dawes - he forced play, was responsible in all three zones and showed poise. The future is bright with play like his and Dubi's.