Because of a Flyers fan at work (seriously), I missed the pregame ceremony and it wasn't included in Rangers in 60 but I heard that it was wonderful. It certainly sounded like the highlight of a night that was bereft of them, at least for the Rangers as they floundered to a 6-2 loss in Montreal. What made it worse, yet understandable, is that it comes just one night after the wonderful win over the Pens.
The Canadiens had the weary Rangers on their heels from the drop of the puck and had full control for most of the night. The Rangers couldn't take advantage of early scoring chances and once the Habs broke through on an outrageous goal, not even the little Swedish boy couldn't put his finger in the dyke to stop the flood. Poor Hank, I thought he was going to pull himself from the game after the fourth goal against. He stayed in and was tagged with all six goals against but he could hardly be faulted for four of them. Man, does that sound terrible ...
*As Johnny Depp questioned in Once upon a time in Mexico, "are you a Mexican, or a Mexican't?" Scott Gomez is clearly the latter. For all of the talk about his puck rushing skill, he seems to rush right into coverage before dumping the puck off. And that is a skill? His passes have been off the mark, his shots have been off the mark (luckily they were redirected in against the Pens) and his defensive play has been awful (Hank had him to thank for that third goal against tonight). And fighting Saku Koivu? What the hell was that garbage about? Frustration on coming out of this one -4?
*On the other side of the coin, Petr Prucha answering the bell and taking on Max Lapierre (who finished with a Gordie Howe/Brendan Shanahan Hat Trick) was great. He was one of maybe three or four Rangers who played like they cared and it should ensure his spot in the lineup for another game.
*Gomez did get an assist on Nazzy's power play goal, which was pretty. In fact, both Ranger goals were sweet (Prucha Wednesday, Nigel Dawes Thursday? Who'da thunk it?!?), too bad style points aren't added to the bottom line.
*Blair Betts, who clearly deserves the A that adorns Gomez's jersey, was out with injury and his presence was lacking. Without him, there was no steadying force out there to calm down the troops and to battle the Begin line. I had picked Begin as the player to watch in the game preview and he proved me right with a whole lotta great work. It's guys like him that prove that hard work and dedication is more valuable than talent any day.
*Throwback jerseys for the Canadiens, throwback-looking gear for
*What the hell has happened to Aaron Voros? Dubinsky has been a shadow of his early-season self but Voros has been outright bad. He took a dumb penalty in this one while making a rare hit and he rarely can get a shot on net. A player of his limited talent needs to battle every second of every shift and that dedication does not seem to be there of late.
*I mentioned it yesterday but it deserves to be brought up again - something has to be done to get Dan Girardi's game going. Girardi was rock solid for a season and a half and being paired with Wade Redden has clearly cost him. Perhaps the 'lower body injury' that Redden suffered will be season ending and Corey Potter can come in to spark Danny's game. Let's face it, something has to be done.
*The scary/interesting/almost good thing is that despite yet another game of horrendous team defense, the Rangers still had a chance to win this one. If not for an early Robert Lang goal in the first minute of the third period that took away the Ranger momentum, they could have done something down by just two goals.
*If Georges Laraque can get 11 minutes of ice time, why can't Colton Orr? For all of his constant, idiotic line juggling, Tom Renney still limited Orr to 6:46. It just doesn't make any sense to me. How does Prucha refuse Renney's request to head to Hartford and then step into the lineup and get twice as much ice time as Orr, who has done everything asked of him this season while playing the best hockey of his career?
*Talking numbers, one night after registering 44 hits at home, the Rangers had just 15 in this one. I guess Hits is just a bit of an arbitrary stat ... just a bit.
*PHW Three Stars
3-Steve Begin - one goal and one assist.
2-Maxim Lapierre - one goal, one assist and one fight.
1-Matt D'Agostini - one goal and one assist.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Andrei Kostitsyn - Kostitsyn's first period goal will probably be the top tally of the week. It was beautiful. And, let's face it, it drained all of the early energy out of the Rangers - what little there was after the Pens game.
2-Andrei Markov - Who needs Mike Komisarek? Markov's defense was solid while he helped spark the offense with two assists.
1-Begin - Begin was the catalyst for his line's success, that simple. He was a more controlled version of Ryan Callahan and it worked to his team's favour.