Since I started this blog, there has only been a few articles that I wrote that didn't see the light of day, for a variety of reasons. On Monday I worked on a piece that essentially said that if the Rangers wanted the same kind of warm reception from the Garden faithful tonight that they had gotten against the Devils, they would have to battle for it. Well, suffice it to say, they went to war and they got the energy boost that only the True Blue can provide.
After a mediocre start to the game, the Rangers stepped up their efforts and took down the Habs 3-1. It was their seventh win in eight home games and proves that it is truly remarkable what they can achieve when they play motivated hockey. HOWEVER, and there is a big however here, it needs to be noted that Montreal was not a particular good opponent. Desperately missing their top two defensemen, the Canadiens lacked direction and the ability to mount a cohesive attack. Their usually lethal power play looked just as listless and pathetic as the Rangers', Carey Price often looked unsettled and the team as a whole looked tired from blowing their game against the Sens Monday. You can be sure that Philly will not be in such sorry shape when they enter the Garden on Thursday.
But for the moment let's just enjoy this one:
*Thank goodness for Steven McDonald. The former cop handed out his Extra Effort Award to Ryan Callahan before the game. Just as he did several years back, McDonald - a cop who was injured in the line of duty - offered a quick motivational speech rivaling that in any number of sports movies. He proclaimed that the Rangers weren't finished yet and the Blueshirts did well to prove the man right.
*It was extra effort that gave the Rangers the game-winning goal. Sean Avery was battered and abused all evening (which the officials conveniently missed) and he hustled for the puck on the end boards before getting it into the slot where Borat Antropov dove to knock it in. And to think that he was playing on a bum knee made it all that more impressive.
*Too bad fellow former communist Nik Zherdev didn't break a sweat. He made a few decent moves that got oooohs and aaaahs but followed them with fool heartedly passes and ineffective shots.
*Heh. Add a lazy, stupid penalty and that sounds kinda like Wade "Out and Drown" Redden as well.
*If the Rangers had been able to take advantage of every bad bounce and every big mistake by Price, then it would have been a 10-2 game.
*For all of the adoration from the audience, enough with Potvin Sucks. It was a tight late season feel-good effort with the neverending soundtrack of whistles. Please, Ranger fans, stop it. Just stop.
*There was a huge contingent of Canadien fans in the building. It was annoying at the outset but turned into quite the enjoyable situation. Even with all of the blue blanc et rouge, there was a tussle in section 330 between so-called Ranger fans. Take one wannabe tough guy, add beer and a selfish nature and you have someone that several sections worth of fans would serenade as "asshole."
*I just turned on the Ranger replay on MSG and have to ask, what the hell were those virtual Subway ads on the glass? Is there anyone - even the most gullible person out there - that is going to look at that and say 'hey! forget this hockey, I wanna go out and get me some Subway!' What next? virtually replace the red line with a virtual 80 foot party sub?
*In the 'I can't make this stuff up' category, I was a tad vocal from my perch at the back of section 329 and bellowed "C'mon captain! Do something!" A second later? 1-0 Rangers. How awesome is that?
*Do you think anyone in early 70s would have ever guessed that the Ranger fans would give the Flyers a standing ovation?
*Colton Orr played less than three minutes and deserved less than three minutes of ice time. Whatever confidence and determination he had earlier this season is gone. He seemed nervous with the puck and scrambled all over the ice trying to keep tabs on his coverage.
*I'm sure there is more but I am crashing hard after such a huge high so let's go right to the stars:
PHW Three Stars
3-Ryan Callahan - two assists.
2-Henrik Lundqvist - 24 saves.
1-Chris Drury - two goals.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Sean Avery - Love him or hate him, all the man does is make the Rangers a winning team.
2-Drury - Dru did earn the nickname Captain Clutch for a reason.
1-Cally - Best player on the ice, bar none. Sean Avery has been called the 'straw that stirs the drink' for the Rangers but no one has given such a consistent effort all over the ice all season long. He was well deserving of the Steve Mac trophy.