According to a friend of mine, let's call him TrottierFan#1, roughly 40% of the fans at Nassau Mausoleum tonight were rooting for the away side. When asked why it was that the minority was so loud with the chanting, he pointed out that it's "easy to be louder when your team is better and winning."
I like that.
Well, the Rangers were better and they won, 2-1. Was it a resounding victory? Absolutely not. But the Blueshirts looked like a better team that just barely edged out these same Isles 5-4 last month. Now is that because they played down to the Isles' level? Or the Isles played up to theirs?
My guess is the former but I'd bet on the latter.
*Much like his teammates, Hank was good but not great. He was beaten at least twice (one post) and rarely had to make a highlight save. His positioning in his last three wins has pretty much ensured that. As he said in the postgame on Saturday, he is "keeping the puck in front" of him and that means the world.
*Is there any wonder that the power play goal that the Rangers scored the game winner on came off of the rush by the young, dynamic power play unit? The unit that stands around passing incessantly nearly gave up a shorthanded goal on several occasions this evening ...
*While I won't attack the Mexican't for his role in the power play fallacies (tonight), I was going to harp on his lazy offensive zone penalty. However, he did make it back to par by setting up the equalizer by Chris Drury. Gomez knocked down a poor clearing pass and dropped it to Drury, who perfectly threaded it through an Islander defender and past Danis to tie the game at one. That's what you're paid for, Braden!
*Five of Drury's 29 points came in his four games against the Islanders. It is great he steps up his game against the evil Isles, but for his salary, he needs to expand that success to teams that aren't headed for the draft lottery.
*What a disgrace of an opening goal against. First Blair Betts loses a defensive zone faceoff, then the Rangers - specifically Wade "In and Drown" Redden - stood around while the Islanders threw the puck on net and finally scored through a Colton Orr screen.
*Al Trautwig interviewed Redden during the first intermission and he didn't ask the question most burning in Ranger fans hearts - "Wade, do you feel like a crook, stealing the Rangers money?" Instead he asked if Redden thinks he is playing better now and, of course, Wade said yes. Clearly.
*For the Ranger fans, seeing Joey Mac go down will likely prove to be bad thing. It sounds good, but it isn't. Prior to the game they were courting former Ranger killer Wade Dubielewicz and you can only imagine that they will double their offer now. As for the injury, I still have no idea where that "strained groin" came in considering he barely reached for the puck on the play they kept showing on MSG.
*Correct me if I am wrong, all of that talk about Mike Dunham getting his gear to back Danis up was pointless, because Dunham could never have gotten in the game. You can't add someone to your roster once the puck drops, can you??
*It was nice of the MSG guys to put together a clip reel showing Tim Jackman running around hitting people heading into the second period. They neglected to include him dodging Orr's challenge by the Isles bench. The instigator rule gets players hurt. That simple.
*PHW Three Stars
3-Chris Drury - one goal.
2-Henrik Lundqvist - 33 saves.
1-Nigel Dawes - game-winning goal.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Brandon Dubinsky - Another big strong game from the big strong kid. He is finally playing like he did at the start of the season and just needs to start converting the chances he is getting around the net.
2-Chris Drury - There is something to be said about someone who steps up his game against rivals, especially the rival I loathe most.
1-Ryan Callahan - Brooksie may be talking about re-signing Z, but if the Rangers let this kid go this team will be so very much worse. When Pru was on the bench and Dawsie and Dubi were ineffective, it was Cally who kept his feet moving and contributed where he could. The kid is a bowling ball on most shifts and he is seeing the ice better each game; his potential has yet to be reached.