Thursday, November 13, 2008
12-5-2: Rocking The Rock
Just over an hour before tonight's game, I threw together a Peepin' Foes for the match where I said "a revival of our power play would be really nice" and that you should watch out for John Madden shutting down Nik Zherdev. One out of two isn't bad and since the result of the latter was in our favour, I don't mind being wrong. Zherdev put up two goals, including one on the power play, as the Rangers continued their Hudson River dominance with a big 5-2 win.
The power play went 2-6 overall and it actually worked because Scott Gomez wasn't in the lineup. Without him playing the predictable puck-possession Jaromir Jagr role without the Czech's wicked wrister, the special team wasn't as afraid to just shoot the puck and it paid off.
Because of work, I watched Rangers in 60 so if I missed anything, please feel free to pipe up in the comments ... And please forgive the schitzo flow, but I don't have a whole lotta time tonight to put together something cohesive so it is just train of thought (which is dangerous for me!).
*Since I am dislocating my shoulder to pat myself on the back and point out how right I have been, last season I called for the Rangers to unite a kid line on several occasions. Tonight they did and that line did quite well. Dawes, Fritsche and Korpikoski looked really good together with Fritsche doing some amazing work along the boards and skating away with two assists. I think you can pretty much kiss Petr Prucha goodbye if they put together another game or two like this. That is if Renney actually keeps them together ... but he won't, so nevermind.
*During last night's season ticket holder forum, Colton Orr voiced his desire for power play time. And, believe it or not, he got some. And, really believe it or not, he looked great out there. There is something to be said for having a big body out there willing to pay the price for position and since Voros has faded a bit lately, it was good to see Orr get the call.
*There are two great things about the Prudential Center: the good showing from Ranger fans and the ads on the boards for Swedish Fish.
*Wade Redden. Wade. Redden. Six years at $6.5 million per season with a limited no-trade clause. Yeah, that really seems like a bright idea right about now. The only player doing as poorly as him is the other defensive 'star' the Rangers signed, Rozy. Redden was out of position in the first period and Travis Zajac wasn't, so he was easily able to score the first goal of the game. Redden has done very, very little to show anything that warrants his contract, and I honestly wonder if the Rangers wouldn't be better served benching him in favour of Corey Potter who is in Hartford. The kid gets some big league experience and the veteran is taught a lesson ... Yes, he registered an assist for his slap shot on the Rangers' fourth goal, but for that contract, he should be expected to be able to play on both sides of the ice and be consistent. How in the world did he get on the All Star ballot??
*Even with his game-tying power play goal, Rozy still is lacking defensively but I will be positive and say it was nice to see him shoot. The key to his goal was Brandon Dubinsky standing right in front of Weekes, and the Devils completely ignoring his presence until it was too late. They definitely did not play as hard as they usually do and were defensively weak. They gave up the middle of their zone, let players get into the paint and gave the Rangers skaters a lot of room - basically an utter failure of their system and Sutter surely had some choice words for them after the game.
*On the other hand, Chris Drury's shot on the go-ahead goal was a thing of beauty. Even that overrated Mmmmaaaarrrtttyyy guy would have had trouble reining that one in. What a rocket! And just why doesn't he do it more often? The same goes with Scott Gomez, who doesn't shoot enough.
*As for the Alaskan Mexican, did he decide the game wasn't important enough to play in? After an MRI showed that nothing was wrong, what possible excuse could he have to not play against his former team? Yes, it is a long season but a rivalry game against a division foe that he claims to enjoy beating.
*You gotta love the other Alaskan's heart but man, Dubi sucks at fighting. The kid got Zubrus' helmet off and jersey over his head and yet still lost the fight. Geez kid, take a boxing class or something instead of playing so much Playstation. On a good note, his work in the circle has steadily been improving since bottoming out at 1-12; he went 5-4 tonight. Granted, he didn't have to take a draw against Bobby Holik, but an improvement is still an improvement.
*I liked Travis Zajac back when he was at North Dakota and have hated him since he went to the Devils. This kid really has all of the tools and is slowly beginning to use all of them. He had a goal an assist and won 11 of 13 faceoffs. Wow.
*Joe Micheletti ... I hate watching games on television because of him. On the Rangers no goal you clearly see a hand push the puck into the goal and yet he had no idea, no clue whatsoever why it was called off. He totally forgot that Zubrus got thrown out of the game as he was trying to figure out who was missing from the Jersey bench. And they pay this man to know what he is talking about!
*I heart Bettsy. The man has a role on this team and he does it so very well. He deserves to be mentioned in the same category as Madden and Kris Draper as top shutdown, penalty killing, faceoff winning centers. You know, the kind of guys who should be nominated for the Selke Trophy.
*Ryan Callahan, by the way, skated for a season-high 19:18. While he didn't score, he did put seven shots on net, had two recorded hits and was a strong forechecking force all game.
*Jamie Langenbrunner really doesn't like the Rangers. I can appreciate that.
*The Rangers outshot the Devs 42-32 so it really was a shooting gallery out there - and the Devils blocked 17 shots too! Gotta feel bad for poor Weeksie. He never looked settled in that crease and his defense let the Rangers hang out by the paint waaayyyy too much. Not that I'm complaining ...
*Stat of the night: New York is 9-0-1 against New Jersey since February 22nd, 2007. Nyeh, nyeh. You can't beat us!
*PHW Three Stars
3-Lauri Korpikoski - one goal.
2-Travis Zajac - one goal and one assist.
1-Nikolai Zherdev - two goals.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Fritsche - As I said above, I thought he was the key to that kid line and he would not be pushed off of the puck. He made smart passes and came out with two assists.
2-Chris Drury - The captain played his third strong game in a row. Let's hope the streak continues.
1-Zajac - A lot of print goes to Parise but Zajac is probably the better all-around player. He doesn't do it with much flash but he gets the job done with some serious hockey smarts.