Thursday, April 17, 2008
R1, G4: Sweet Redemption
What a game at the Garden!
With some of the nay-sayers already predicting loss (not me, for once), the Rangers came out and battled the Devils to a hard-earned 5-3 win on Wednesday night to take a 3-1 lead in the Hudson River Rivalry.
For Marc Staal, it was sweet redemption (hence, the title of this). After having the game-winning overtime goal go in off of his skate in Sunday's loss, his third period shot in Game 4 found its way through traffic to blow past Marty Brodeur. The tally would stand up as the game-winning goal and the Blueshirts have some breathing room heading into Friday's road home game in Newark's Prudential Center.
Thank goodness, because my nerves couldn't stand much more. Here's what was causing me to bite my nails all night:
*As one incredibly wonderful fan pointed out in a well-crafted sign, diving counts as unsportsmanlike conduct and Mmmaaaaaarrrrttttyyy was not very sporting on this evening. On several occasions the overrated crybaby turned the game into his own personal tryout for the Canadian swim team that is headed to Beijing this summer. He dove back and forth across the crease as if it would earn him a medal and, in one instance, it earned him a two minute minor for (what else but) diving. My question is why was a interference call made on Sjostrom when the second player, Mmmmaaaaaarrrrttttyyy, embellished the play enough to be called for diving? And where was the dive on the play later in the game when Jagr cut into the crease and Mmmmmaaaaaaarrrrrttttyyy went for another swim?
*That brings up the point that the officiating maintained its dubious track record of being inconsistent and unfair. Why is it that no penalty is called when Sean Avery is pinned to the ice for 15 seconds by a Devil and a minor is given to Jaromir Jagr when he is being punched in the face? And Jersey has the nerve to complain about the officiating when every call, outside of the end of Game 2, has been in their favour. The joke that the officials are three blind mice is outdated; these guys aren't just blind, they are stupid as well. Inconsistent, incompetent officiating needs to be eradicated ASAP. These games aren't about the refs, they are about the players and they need to keep it that way; no one wants to pay to see a game decided by a whistle.
*On whistling: just stop it already with the 'Potvin Sucks' whistles. Love them when we are playing the Islanders, but against the Devils it is just annoying and out of place. If anything, its a Devil fan executing their rip off version where the Potvin is replaced with Rangers. Either way, it has no place in the Garden late in the third period during a tight game against New Jersey.
*Back to that nonsense with goaltending ... Jay Pandolfo told the AP that “I guess we have find a way to do the same thing to their goalie. They are getting away with it, we should be able to get away with it, too.” For one, I didn't realize that Mmmaaaaarrrrtttyyy's acting job was good enough to fool his own teammates and for two, when you hit players into your own goaltender its your fault, not that of the other players. Idiot.
*It was nice of the Devils trainer to go all the way down the ice to see a trainer give Mmmmmaaaarrrrtttyyy a towel to cry into when he went for that second swim, losing his helmet in the process.
*A fellow season subscriber and I agreed that Nigel Dawes has seemingly disappeared in this series. After dominating the Devils in the regular season, he has yet to make his presence felt.
*Ryan Callahan and Brandon Dubinsky, on the other hand, have been invaluable physical forces that create plays and opportunities for their linemates. These kids are the best Rangers youngsters since Doug Weight and Tony Amonte.
*Christian Backman had 23 minute of ice time, including 3:45 of power play time. Things he achieved in that time?? NOTHING. It is infuriating that he is being groomed to be Rozy's replacement so we will be stuck with him for years to come. What a waste of a perfectly good jersey. I have heard from a good source that Bobby Sanguinetti is already looking like a star in the AHL so maybe he can beat Backman for a spot on the blueline next season.
*PHW Three Stars
3-Chris Drury - goal and an assist.
2-Marty Straka - goal and an assist.
1-Marc Staal - game-winning goal.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Dan Girardi - rock solid defense. He had eight hits and an assist in less than 17 minutes of work. His defensive acumen allowed Toots to make a few offensive plays without making me nervous.
2-Scott Gomez - yet again he didn't dominate but he definitely played a stronger game than he had in Game 3. He won faceoff after faceoff, netted two goals and continued to open up the ice with his puck carrying skills.
1-Marc Staal - the kid played more than 23 minutes of solid hockey. He was mobile, moved the puck smoothly and stood his ground defensively.