Wow, to think that this Ottawa Senator squad made it to the Stanley Cup Finals in the not-too-distant past is utterly shocking. They were unorganized, unmotivated and had trouble even completing simple passes while constantly sitting on their heels as the Rangers attacked. However, that isn't to take anything away from the 2-0 Ranger victory, as the Blueshirts played a pretty solid game, but it was just very, very surprising. You see the Sens low in the standings, but to actually see them is something else ...
Whatever, we won:
*It was quite heartening to see Brandon Dubinsky get off of the shnide. He has been battling hard to get into good positions for weeks and it finally paid off in this one, as he banged home a bouncing puck for the first goal of the night.
*Lauri Korpikoski also got his first goal in a long while, a nice tally thanks to the stellar stickhandling of Nik Zherdev. Big Z played his most motivated game in weeks and seemed to have a magnet on his stick, drawing the puck to him every shift. He has always seemed better as a playmaker rather than a sniper and perhaps this will boost his confidence so he can get back in the boxscores more often.
*Don Cherry moment of the night: Chris Neil runs Marc Staal in the second period. Brandon Dubinsky comes right over to challenge Neil as the play is blown dead. Neil doesn't bite. Tom Renney, to his credit, puts Colton Orr out on the ice across from Neil. Neil doesn't bite. If there was no instigator rule, than the idiot goon would have faced the ramifications of his actions. Instead? He is allowed to keep playing chickensh-t hockey and runs Staal again in the third. As Cherry said in this evening's Coach's Corner, there is a Code. Neil isn't man enough to live by it and he should be forced to live with the consequences.
*Priceless MSG moment - after the third period scrum when Staal got sucker punched by Neil, MSG rolls in a 'Elmo Makes Music' Sesame Street Live commercial. You just can't make that stuff up.
*Don't go thinking that this win is a cure-all; the major faults in the team still exist. Despite playing against such a poor defensive team who had a goaltender making his second career start, the Rangers "big guns" couldn't get on the scoreboard and went 0-3 on the power play (even though the third was just the final 22 seconds of the game). The Mexican'ts inability to do anything worthwhile (5-11 in faceoffs?? ugh) is consistently infuriating, while Markus Naslund keeps putting on his invisibility cloak. At least Chris Drury is contributing defensively, but for seven million dollars a year you would expect a little bit of offense.
*Colton Orr was somehow limited to less than nine minutes of ice time - one night after playing a big role in the shootout loss against Buffalo.
*Dmitri Kalinin played one of his best games as a Ranger; he looked solid and strong while chipping in an assist.
*Petr Prucha continues to play motivated hockey, shaming Gomez and most of his teammates. Hopefully they don't wear off on him and he can keep up his stellar work.
*Nigel Dawes and Ryan Callahan were consistently dangerous by being proactive, they just need to figure out how to translate that into points consistently. Cally seems to be right on the doorstep time after time but isn't finishing.
*Michal Rozsival looked good considering he got his brains scrambled in Buffalo. To be honest, I was glad to see him go instead of Bobby Sanguinetti. Marc Staal
*PHW Three Stars
3-Brian Elliot - 25 saves.
2-Henrik Lundqvist - 33 saves.
1-Lauri Korpikoski - one goal and one assist.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Hank - A shutout is a shutout, even if it is against a sad team that hardly challenged him.
2-Rozy - The blueliner skated a team-high 23:27, had a coupla blocked shots, a hit and all of it just a day after a scary hit that sent him head-first into the edge of the bench door. And baseball players take games off for hang nails and sleeping funny.
1-Pru - The way he singlehandedly pressured the Sens, gained possession, held off a defender and fed the puck right to the Kor-pedo was amazing. I can't stress it enough - HARD WORK PAYS OFF!!