Sunday, November 16, 2008
13-5-2: Lucky Number 13
The NHL is veering very close to NBA territory and I hate to say it, but it is making for some exciting hockey. Team A comes out strong and takes a lead. Team A then backs off. Team B picks up their game and rallies. Ignore the first 40+ minutes but make sure you catch the ending because anything can happen. There were several games in the NHL like that tonight but, of course, we'll focus on the one in New York where the Rangers rallied from a 2-0 deficit to come back and win 3-2 in a shootout.
It was a helluva game and after a late evening of celebrating, I apologize for the lack of photos and I am just going to get right into the game:
*Original Six hockey is just something special and it would be something really sweet (and something really nerve-racking) to see these two teams meet in a seven-game series in the playoffs.
*Tom Renney/Glen Sather have to, HAVE TO bring in a seventh defensemen. Having no accountability has led to sloppy play and it nearly cost the Rangers the game. Michal Rozsival needs a taste of humility and fast, because he is simply horrible. For four million dollars you can't have a defenseman who can't be trusted with the puck. It is time to make up one of the NHL's new 'upper body' injuries (he's lost his head) and send him to the Pack for "conditioning."
*Perry Pearn has to take a road trip himself. Maybe there is somewhere wonderful where he can go and learn how to plan a power play and get the players to buy into it. They went 0-6 on the special team including two 5-on-3s and they were horrid. Putrid even. Another shorthanded goal against? Oy!
*It is amazing how the Rangers can spend so much time not playing their game, and all of a sudden turn things on. Naslund's game-tying goal was perfect Ranger hockey - Dubi draws the attention of the defenders as he breaks into the zone before sending it across to an unmarked Naslund for an open shot that found the back of the net. Beautiful.
*The hard work that led to the first Ranger goal was pretty too. Dan Fritsche and Lauri Korpikoski did all of the tough stuff along the endboards and Korpikoski sent a seeing-eye puck through traffic to Nigel Dawes in the slot for a one-timer goal. As I am big in saying I told you so, I told you so: Korpikoski has a lot to contribute but there will be growing pains and Dawes is at his best when he battles into the middle, rather than letting himself be marginalized on the wings.
*I also have to point out that I called a 4-2 Ranger win. Pretty close, aye?
*Credit can go around and Dubi deserves some for his work early in the third period. When Hank made an ill-advised foray out to play the puck, he lost his stick and Dubi was there to give him his. Smart move by the youngester.
*A guy in the section next to me recalled the Zdeno Chara shootout blast that beat the Blueshirts last season. It was a helluva shot and I gotta ask, why wasn't he included in Boston's shootout list?
*The so-called "fight" between Paul Mara and Chuck Kobasew was a joke. Kobasew chose to hug Mara and try to grind into the boards rather than fight him like a man. Granted, he likely would have gotten his hat handed to him, but at least he would have went down with some class. I still don't understand why, with the Rangers down 2-0 Colton Orr didn't take on Shawn Thornton. Orr, by the way, got a criminal 5:13 of ice time. He has worked hard to earn more and the coaching staff didn't deliver. Put him on the power play already!
*Speaking of trying to find ice time, my buddy Greg brought up a great question - when Gomez comes back on Monday, who comes out?? The Fritsche/Korpikoski/Dawes line was the Rangers best, how do you bench any of them??
*With Gomez out, his A for assistant captain went to Blair Betts for the second straight game and I have to say that it looked good there.
*Number of the night: 75. The two teams combined for 75 recorded hits. Tell my why we need to play Altanta four times ... ??
*PHW Three Stars
3-Lauri Korpikoski - One assist.
2-Chris Drury - Shootout game-winner.
1-Henrik Lundqvist - 23 saves.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Hank - Let's face it folks, the Bruins had the game won in regulation but they hit the post. They had the game tied in the shootout but they hit the post. Good luck helped out a great effort by the King.
2-Drury - Is there anyone else out there paying the same prices he is? Drury battles for every inch of space, nearly came up with a breakaway goal and scored his first shootout goal to win the game for the Rangers. Yeah Dru!
1-Tim Thomas - 29 saves and it is hard to fault him on the two others that went into the net. Thomas is really unorthodox, but he really get's the job done.