I am sure that I am going to get some nasty comments and e-mails but I don't care: despite the debacle, Scott Gomez just made his biggest contribution to the Rangers since coming to New York. Sure, he had a helluva series against the Devils but the way Avery had Mmmaarrrtttyyy off his game, the Rangers could have won anyway. But to singlehandedly eliminate a prime rival from the playoffs? That doesn't happen too often. By sending Ryan Miller out limping in what they are calling a high ankle sprain (fingers crossed), the Sabres are half the team they were. Sure they held on to beat the Rangers 4-2 tonight, but does anyone think Patrick Lalime can carry a team anymore? If it is a serious injury, then Darcy Regier will have to make a move for a keeper, and like most deadline deals, perhaps it will blow up in his face. Much like the Tom Renney Chemistry Set.
Don't be fooled folks, the Rangers will be fighting the good fight right up until the end for the final spots in the playoffs, and Pittsburgh, Carolina and these Sabres will all be in the mix. What they have that the Rangers don't? Scoring. What the Rangers have that they don't? Goaltending. Let's pray that Henrik is up to the task.
*Speaking of such, when are the Rangers going to stop stick checking and help Hank out? If they weren't blindly swinging their sticks around, the Sabres wouldn't have scored such a pretty first goal. And if Rozy knew how to play the body, Derek Roy couldn't have made such a nice pass. But what can you do?
*Hank could do nothing on the second goal. All of the Rangers were skating backwards, giving the Sabres the zone and the extra space gave them the time and the screen to get the goal. Is there any bigger nightmare for a Ranger fan (or goaltender) than having Kalinin and Redden on the ice at the same time?
*You gotta love Sam but when he attributes the Blueshirts struggles to confidence I want to strangle him. How can you lose confidence when you are making MILLIONS OF DOLLARS A YEAR??? I know I'd be walking on sunshine ... woa-oh! But seriously, everybody hurts when the team loses, but going home to a big house and a buttload of money certainly makes things easier, especially when you aren't in danger of being laid off like so many other people nowadays. So don't tell me they don't have confidence, they have that ... the problem is that they have security.
*Even shorthanded, how do you leave the opposition's top scorer open in the slot? With Rozy handily pushed aside by Paul Gaustad, Marc Staal had given Derek Roy a ton of room and he swooped in to score the power play goal to make it a 3-0 game.
*Side note: The Rangers must really be scared of having their sell-out streak broken by suddenly announcing that there will be a t-shirt giveaway for the game against the Panthers next week. This is the first shirt giveaway in years and the announcement during the third period was the first that I had heard of it.
*It would be easy to blame Wade Redden for pinching on Buffalo's fourth goal but if Dan Girardi played the body on Tim Connolly, the bobblehead couldn't have made the pass to Jochen Hecht for the goal. This goes back to the earlier point that the Ranger defense is softer than a bunch of beanie babies and is just as likely to cost the Blueshirts a playoff spot as the offense's lack of ... well ... offense.
*Who do you think booed Gomez more? The Sabre fans after he hit Miller or the Ranger fans back on Wednesday?
*The Ranger first goal really shouldn't have counted as Nazzy kicked it in. As my buddy Pete said "it was clearly redirected on purpose...but it stands. Buffalo got robbed of a goaltender and a goal. And what's worse...these three clowns earn a point - Gomez, Drury and Naz ... on the power play!" I couldn't have said it better.
*Kudos to Colton Orr for caring, he was one of the few to have a pulse. Granted, he isn't making the best decisions, but at least he is making decisions, which is more than half the roster.
*The only other Ranger I want to give an attaboy to is Ryan Callahan. Cally played hard in front of his family and friends. He just needs to start putting the puck in the net a little more often - but that can be said for Pru and the Korpedo (did anyone else hear Sam say that the MSG crew came up with that nickname?? Hilarious!).
*What good is Nigel Dawes if he can't score on wide open opportunity after wide open opportunity when it counts? I still think that any of the kids in Hartford would be an upgrade. And maybe if Anisimov got a chance, he wouldn't put on a performance like his debut as Frankenstein. Sure he got a goal with five minutes left, but the kid can't score when it counts and frankly, that is what we need right now and down the line. Is he a better prospect than Frankenstein? Can he score more than Parenteau?
*Stat of the night: Wade Redden 25:21 of ice time, no hits, no blocked shots, -2. Erik Reitz 8:51 of ice time, three blocked shots, one hit, +1.
*PHW Three Stars
3-Tim Connolly -
2-Daniel Paille - one goal.
1-Derek Roy - one goal and two assists.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Paul Gaustad - A big body in the middle willing to hit and pay the price in the slot? Who'da thunk that it could work?!?
2-Roy - In addition to his offensive prowess, he also blocked a few shots and was great in the faceoff dot.
1-Gomez - Nice work taking out Miller.