For the first time this season the Rangers faced the test of a team that will actually contend for the Stanley Cup and they came so very close to passing it with flying colours. They lost 5-4 in overtime to the Detroit Red Wings on a one-timer by Marian Hossa in the slot.
I have been yelling "Six million dollars for what?!?!" in the Garden every time Wade Redden would screw up defensively - which has unfortunately been at least twice a game. I apologize. According to NHLnumbers, Redden is making six-point-five million dollars. Sorry for shorting you Wade. My bad. For comparison, Redden makes a quarter of a mil less than Scott Niedermayer and a quarter more than Chris Pronger. It would really be nice if he started earning it. Redden was beaten twice on the last play alone as he poorly chased Pavel Datsyuk into the Ranger zone. It was embarrassing and infuriating. And don't get me started on Michal Rozsival, who I am pretty sure has no idea of how to play defense at all. Five million dollars.
But for all of the negativity, the Rangers did battle back after an embarrassing start to steal a point in a game against the reigning Stanley Cup champions which really is quite incredible. After looking waaaaaaaaay out of their league early, it was just a pleasure to watch the Blueshirts pick things up and run with the Red Wings.
*On a night where the other team featured Tomas Holmstrom - the best player in the NHL with his back to the net, who did score in this one - it was Aaron Voros who starred down low. Voros showed up for the first time in three games, getting a great second period chance off of a feed from Dubi. Voros got off a shot despite being clobbered from behind but Chris Osgood, being Chris Osgood, made the great save. He seemed to pick up his play from there and was involved throughout the third period. First he screened Ozzy on the equalizer and then he banked in the go-ahead tally off of the goaltender for his fourth goal of the season. Some blame does go to Voros for the too-many-men penalty, but most should go to Lauri Korpikoski for jumping on early.
*A finger needs to be pointed at captain Chris Drury for getting caught watching the puck in the first minute. His man, former Ranger Mikael Samuelsson, was left wide open to make a perfect deflection to score the opening goal. The five Rangers on the ice minutes later - Drury included - were following the puck and, after Henrik gave up a terrible rebound, none of them were near enough to stop Johan Franzen from banging in the puck.
*Much like with the first Detroit goal, the third Wings one came off of a shot that was redirected. This time Redden and Rozy couldn't clear the slot and the traffic made it virtually impossible for Hank to see. Three of the five goals against Lundqvist came from former Team Sweden teammates, which is pretty funny/sad/understandable. Lundqvist can hardly be blamed for this loss after making 40 saves. Two of the goals came on bad rebounds that he allowed but even then the defence could/should have bailed him out.
*Were there any fans there? Seriously, the Joe appeared to be half empty on tv and that is sad considering they honoured NHL great Ted Lindsay with a statue. From all that I have read, and all of the clips that I have seen, Lindsay was an incredible, incredible player and is definitely a Scotty Hockey Hero.
*Ryan Callahan finally got himself a real goal this season. Left alone in the circle, Scott Gomez finally made a good pass and Callahan snapped it past Chris Osgood to get the Rangers on the scoreboard late in the first period. The second Ranger goal was much like the first with a good pass setting up a good wrister from a good position. This time it was Nigel Dawes finishing it off with a goal he desperately needed.
*Apparently Markus Naslund is indeed still on the Rangers as he did a first intermission interview with Rob Simpson. Naslund, who is also desperately needs to score, had Simpson making excuses for Naslund's lack of production so far. Quite professional. The same goes for my buddy Joe Micheletti, who also stepped out and defended the past-his-prime Swede several times over the course of the game. There is still something left in the tank, but Naslund hasn't showed it since Prague.
*I have called for the firing of Perry Pearn since last season and feel the need to reiterate it yet again. His joke of a power play had no power (going 0-2) and nearly allowed their third shorthanded goal of this young season in the third period. There is simply no excuse for that.
*Redden and Rozy made
*PHW Three Stars
3-Scott Gomez - two assists.
2-Pavel Datsyuk - one assist.
1-Marian Hossa - one goal and one assist.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Lundqvist - It is hard for me to give a star to a goaltender who gave up five goals but when you look at the defense in front of him (or lack thereof) and the battering that the super-talented Detroit offence gave him, you can see that he kept this one close.
2-Voros - How great is it to see a Ranger battling down low? Pretty f-in great, I have to tell you. I've dreamt of this day. Great work by the big man, let's hope he can/will keep doing it over the grind of the season.
1-HO-SSAAAAAAAAA - What a contrast between him and his brother, you know? Both Kostitsyns in Montreal are awesome, why was our Hossa so much worse than this one?? Marian has incredible timing, a great shot and a tendency to come through in the clutch - all of which he showed off tonight.