Monday, March 16, 2009
36-26-8: Shooting ... On A Power Play?
I have to keep this quick as I just got in from work and need to crash before heading to Montreal in the morning so I can experience my first Habs game on Tuesday.
The Rangers won. And it was good.
All season we have longed for the Blueshirts to shoot on the power play and crash the net and on Sunday, they did that. And it was good. Four goals with the man advantage spelled doom for Flyers, who took stupid penalty after stupid penalty. (Thank you Sean Avery.) Someone needs to amend that Versus commercial with Braydon Coburn ... "I stupidly went after a soft European at center ice away from the play. Yeah, I didn't come back."
That isn't to say that the Blueshirts were bright - there was no reason for Dan Girardi to take himself out of the game for instigating a fight after a clean check. Henrik Lundqvist gets bumped and there is barely a scrum. Nik Zherdev plays with his head down and gets his clocked clean so the top Ranger defenseman throws down with Mike Richards. Stupid.
But the big picture looks good as the Rangers kept pace with the Penguins, who beat up the suddenly suspect Bruins. At the same time, there is no resting on the laurels of a good win - the Blueshirts have to do this every game the rest of the way if they are going to hang in a playoff position.
*Zherdev has now taken, what, three games off? He was terrible here so he should star up in Montreal.
*Wade "Out and Drown" Redden remains the bane of my existence. Redden somehow recorded three hits, which has to include the times he ran into the boards after the opposing player skated away with the puck. He is a disaster. And his power play point was a second assist on a goal he had NOTHING TO DO WITH.
*The other waste of money on the blueline Michal Rozsival remained suspect with the puck but I think he had a visibly better game then he did in Philly on Saturday.
*If Scott Hartnell scored on that two-on-one two minutes into the game, the Rangers woulda lost. There were a lotta odd man rushes, especially early. High risk, high reward with Torts, huh?
*I wonder who was a game-time decision for the Rangers - Borat maybe? Aaron Voros took warmups so either someone was hurting or Torts was playing a mind game with the Flyers. Borat played quite well and got himself another goal. See? I can give him credit even if I remain in utter disbelief that someone that big can be that soft ... I know, I shoulda learned from Malik but I thought he was just a freak of nature!
*Lauri Korpikoski barely played despite no forward getting more than 20 minutes of ice time. The Korpedo must have done something to turn off Torts to have been cut to just over six minutes of work.
*Markus Naslund is no Benjamin Button. Nazzy is far past his prime and getting worse as the season goes on. He is slowing down, he can hardly hit the net with a shot and he has no chemistry with any of his linemates. There is no shame in calling it a career and heading back to Modo this summer.
*Almost as frustrating is Zherdev. I say almost because his disappearing act is expected at this point. You still kinda hope that he cares, even though you know he doesn't. The Flyers showed how to keep him on the outskirts - hit him once and he is like a spurned puppy who cowers in the corner.
*What will it take for Brandon Dubinsky to score? He seems to be doing everything but nowadays.
*Blair Betts is my favourite player. He is one of the top five penalty killers in the NHL but, let's face it, he couldn't hit a barn with a beach ball.
*Danny Briere really does look like a child in person. It is kinda creepy. It was kinda sad watching him skate around, clearly still injured and uninterested in getting involved.
*The building kept hyping that it was the 150th consecutive sellout but there were still a slew of empty seats. A sad sign of the times I guess.
*John Amirante's anthem blew away that blonde bimbo from Philly on Saturday.
*Stat of the night: 56 penalty minutes were awarded but Dan Carcillo, Riley Cote and Colton Orr had none of them.
*PHW Three Stars
3-Henrik Lundqvist - 24 saves.
2-Nik Antropov - one power play goal.
1-Sean Avery - two power play goals.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Freddie Sjostrom - Hard work pays off and Sjo finally netted a goal. Hopefully it will start a trend.
2-Hank - The only goal that got past him was a deflection he didn't see and he played behind a defense with Wade Redden and Michal Rozsival. He doesn't deserve a star, he deserves a medal.
1-Avery - He delivered. Again.