I've used the Maaaaarrrrrtttttyyyy title several times this season, and it feels great every time. The man with the overinflated reputation and ego is being brought back to earth as the Rangers break through the Devils defense to actually get at the goaltender. Back when Ken Daneyko and Scott Stevens were there to bail him out, Marty was hailed as a hero. Now everyone is seeing that he really isn't nearly as good as advertised.
HOWEVER, as much as he blew the game for Jersey with two bad goals, the officiating truly screwed them. With the game 2-1 in the last minute, Bettsy should have been given a hooking/interference call, Rozy should have been given a cross check and the linesmen mistakenly blew an icing on them when they were shorthanded. They will be very, very dangerous in Game 3 on Sunday.
But before then, more on tonight (pictures to be added later):
*I have to say that I find it incredibly awesome that there really are very few New Jersey Devil fans. Even on the broadcast, the Maaaaarrrrrrrttttty chants after the back-to-back goals were deafening. Magnificent. Is it any wonder that I said that Jersey isn't our biggest rival? You have to have someone to battle against to have a proper foil. They have few fans.
*So I said that in Game 1 Marty was obssessed with Gomez, and Gomer took advantage by setting up all three goals. This time, Sean finally got under his skin and man was it fun to watch. First the two jaw face to face in the second period, then Sean scores in the third (with Gomez on the doorstep). I had previously said that if Avery asks for $4, 5 million we would have to let him go. I take it back, hand that man a blank check.
*Yogi Berra is a traitor. Apparently he was a Ranger fan back when he played for the Yanks but MSG+ showed him with a Devil cap. He met and became friends with the Devils' owner so he roots for them down. That's just wrong ...
*The long first period delay while the Rock ice crew tried to combine their brain power to fix a friggin door luckily didn't cause the teams to lose any of the intensity that they had to start the game.
*I neglected to mention him in my wrap of the first game, but Marc Staal is playing like he is a 10 year veteran, not some kind of rookie. He is one of the few Ranger defenders that are making the Devils pay when they enter the zone and has remained remarkably poised while doing it. While Rozy and Toots have slacked here and there, Staal and Girardi have been steady, bailing their partners out.
*Mara shouldn't have taken the cage off of his helmet - he was making bigger hits and playing a stronger all-around game with it on. And seeing a more timid Mara longside the soft Swede Christian Backman really doesn't do well for my nerves.
*Speaking of Mr. Backman ... where to start. What a bum. Busts Zach Parise in the mouth for no reason and puts the Rangers down for four minutes (thank goodness for great killers). That list of fourth round picks makes me more and more angry.
*Jagr was a horse, scoring the Rangers first goal of the game but - as I am sure I will take flak for this - I think his linemate Brandon Dubinsky was better. Dubi mixed it up, moved the puck and played a game far beyond his years. I've said it a few times before, but I do think we are watching a young Jason Arnott. Hopefully he will collect the same rings that the former Devil did.
*PHW Three Stars
3-Sean Avery - one goal.
2-Jaromir Jagr - one goal.
1-Henrik Lundqvist - 26 saves.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Shanny - his penalty killing and grit won't show up on the scoresheet but they won the game for the Rangers as much as the Jagr and Avery goals did.
2-Avery - what a punk; love him.
1-Hank - in the playoffs your goaltender has to be your best player and on this night, he truly was. He made several huge saves and the lone goal against came on a perfect redirection by John Madden.