The Columbus Blue Jackets were robbed on Friday night. Somehow both officials and the video judges in Columbus and Toronto all mistakenly agreed that Brandon Dubinsky's eventual game-winner was a fair goal even though he clearly redirected it in with his skate. It put the Blue Jackets back on their heels and allowed the Rangers to play from a place of strength. But what is done is done and the Blueshirts skated away with a 3-1 win. Considering how badly the team has played in recent games, we'll take it.
*First off, get well soon Tom Renney. After getting clocked in the head, he went down like a ton of bricks and had to be helped off of the bench. On NHL on the Fly they said he was doing fine so let's hope so; I never want to see the team in Perry Pearn's hands again. Yes, the team picked up their play, but it was for Renney - not the incompetent Pearn. His power play, by the way, went 1-for-7 and looked awful during a 5-on-3.
*I watched the game without any audio and have to say it was great not having to listen to Joe Micheletti. But I do have to say that the MSG production staff doing this game must have had no control over the cameramen. The Columbus crew had trouble following the puck and nearly gave me motion sickness as they swung back and forth. The MSG folks weren't perfect themselves, missing several faceoffs because of replays as well as the first Ranger goal.
*Speaking of faceoffs, the Rangers couldn't win one while in the offensive zone on the power play if their lives depended on it. It was horrifying to watch the seconds tick off as they were forced to retrieve the puck time after time after time.
*And they are lucky to have Henrik Lundqvist in the crease because yet again the special team allowed the disadvantaged team to get scoring chances. Hank made 25 saves in all and stood tall despite unrelenting pressure from Rick Nash, who could be great if he didn't play in Columbus.
*Voracek, by the way, really showed why he is a top prospect. He has great hands, good size and - as he showed on the goal - breakaway speed. If RJ Umberger and the rest of the Columbus offense ever get in gear, Voracek could end up a Calder finalist. Especially since his teammate, Nik Filatov won't challenge him when he gets less than three minutes of ice time a game.
*The Ranger kids, meanwhile, were involved all over the ice. Ryan Callahan hit everything that moved, Marc Staal was the most physical he has ever been (not facing his own brother), Brandon Dubinsky had little trouble powering into the Columbus zone and Dan Girardi excelled in all three zones. The only disappointment was Nigel Dawes, who was ineffective yet again.
*Did Fedor Tyutin or Cristian Backman actually play? I saw they got ice time on the box score but can honestly say I didn't notice either of them all night. Actually, check that, I saw Backman standing nearby Rick Nash as he was giving Freddy Sjostrom the business after the final buzzer.
*It was great to see another former Ranger again. Manny Malhotra has certainly made a nice little career for himself after the Rangers ruined his early development. Where Danny Blackburn was overused, got hurt and is out of hockey, Manny was underused, overburdened with expectations and yet has carved himself a nice niche as an energy line center.
*Markus Naslund somehow got a pair of assists in this one. Can you imagine how good the Rangers will be if he, Chris Drury, Scott Gomez and/or Wade Redden actually remember how to score? I dream of that.
*Let's hope that tomorrow they take a few more pictures of Cindy Crosby that she never wants to be in again ...
*PHW Three Stars
3-Markus Naslund - two assists.
2-Dan Girardi - one goal and one assist.
1-Nik Zherdev - one goal and two assists.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Ryan Callahan - Cally had seven recorded hits. He is at his best when he is physically involved because it makes things happen. Too many Rangers are reactive rather than proactive and it was nice to see.
2-Pascal Leclaire - Leclaire made 29 saves on 32 shots and had absolutely no chance to get the other three. Girardi's goal came through a screen, Dubi kicked his in and Zherdev ... well there was no stopping that.
1-Zherdev - Circumstances got him his two assists, skill got him that goal. A soft touch to receive the puck and lightning fast hands to turn it over and put in the upper corner on the far side. Wow. If only he could do that on a regular basis ...