Saturday, November 29, 2008
17-7-2: Can't We Win In Regulation?
Did anyone else notice the tight shot of Henrik Lundqvist in the third period? He looked wide-eyed and shellshocked a la Denis Lemieux in Slap Shot. It was hilarious! But I have to say that it wasn't funny a few minutes later when the Rangers let David Booth skate alone into the zone on the far side to score the equalizer at three. Poor Hank had no help most of the night and yet he still bailed the boys out in the shootout as they won 4-3.
That makes back-to-back games where the Blueshirts blew late leads against bad teams only to pull out wins in the skills competition. However, there is some silver lining on it as both came on the road against foes in another division who aren't likely headed for the playoffs so the charity points won't hurt us.
And onto some notes:
*Lauri Korpikoski skated just 6:42, had one assist and was +2. Dan Fritsche had one goal and one hit in 6:20. Scott Gomez and Chris Drury both skated around 25 minutes and had no points. Time to start rolling four lines Renney.
*Brandon Dubinsky played his best game in ages and went 11-1 at the dot with six shots on goal. It's a good start ...
*What a nice way to start, huh? Two minutes into the game Nik Zherdev got a step on his man and his stick on the puck to put the Rangers up with an early goal. Less than a minute later Dan Fritsche showed some of his untapped offensive potential with good stickhandling on a bouncing puck to wrist the puck past Craig Anderson.
*Not to be missed was Paul Mara perfectly handing Nick Tarnasky on Florida's next rush down the ice. The positioning kept the Panther from getting off a good shot and the Rangers escaped the two-minute-after-you-score danger zone. Of course, things went south after that, but it was impressive.
*His partner, however, allowed the Panthers to get on the scoreboard. Dmitri Kalinin couldn't control a bouncing puck behind the net and hesitated long enough before heading back into the slot to cover Radek Dvorak, even if Dvorak kicked it in (debatable).
*I watched this game alongside the Buffalo/Pittsburgh game and can't decide which announcer I loathe more - Joe Micheletti or Rick Jeanneret. Joe doesn't know (anything) while Rick is a howling homer. Tough call there.
*I do have to agree with Joe that Dvorak deserves to be suspended for his third period slew foot on Freddie Sjostrom. That is just low. And Dvorak isn't a star like Gina Malkin so its ok to suspend him for offenses like that.
*There appears to be little toughness in Aaron Voros' game anymore. Yes, he scored a pretty goal on a good wrister but the big forward seems to be angling himself so he avoids hits along the board rather than welcoming contact. He needs to be physical to be good in this league and if Dane Byers wasn't hurt in Hartford, I would be advocating for the former Wild winger be benched. The second period tussle that got him a penalty was because he was defending a teammate - which is appreciated - but he has to be strong all over the ice and force the play to be valuable game in and game out - fortune like that befell him on his goal doesn't happen every game.
*I know the Rangers didn't sign Drury for his scoring touch but c'mon man, you are getting right there!! Who are you taking scoring advice from now? Blair Betts??
*Speaking of advice, Michal Rozsival needs to listen to the advice that all fans give - SHOOT!! Renney trusts him enough to put him back on the power play and he still doesn't have the confidence to unload a shot from the point. His blast set up Zherdev's goal earlier in the game and yet he passed away chance after chance on the special team (esp. in the second period). And I won't even discuss his mediocre defensive play or bad second period penalty or inability to knock a loose puck out of the crease ... but he ended up +3 with two assists so he musta been stellar!
*His new/old sidekick, Marc Staal, is a stud. It has been mentioned several times this season but he is growing - albeit slowly - into the star everyone hoped he would be. His boarding call in the third period was the kind of marginal penalty that isn't called every game so you can hardly blame him for it.
*Not only does MSG marginalize trivia now, but they had tech difficulties with putting the answer up this evening (Mike York has the most assists in a two game span). I don't get it, everyone had fun with trivia - why is it so dry now - when they have it at all ... ?? The Buffalo MSG broadcast had it and it was fun too (and I got it right! Who was the first Sabre inducted into their hall of fame? Tim Horton, Gilbert Perrault or Roger Crozier?).
*Totally OT - Does anyone actually think those Geico caveman commercials are even remotely funny anymore?
*Maybe I was wrong, Markus Naslund clearly has something left in the tank. Hopefully he will continue his career revival and elevate the team with his play.
*Shades of Marty Straka six minutes into the third period: Zherdev skates in on a break with an edge on Jay Bouwmeester and pulls up to wait for his teammates, who are far less capable scorers. Ryan Callahan did the same thing later in the period but let's face it, Cally doesn't have the speed or hands of Zherdev so it made sense.
*PHW Three Stars
3-David Booth - one goal.
2-Aaron Voros - one goal.
1-Nik Zherdev - one regulation goal, one shootout goal.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Colton Orr - Without a rival goon, Orr actually had to play hockey and he proved he has it in him.
2-Jay Bouwmeester - How does someone that big skate so well?
1-Henrik Lundqvist - The King comes through again after the team falls apart in front of him.