Tuesday, October 13, 2009
5-1-0: We Scored How Many?
Seven. The Rangers scored seven goals in a demolition of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Seven. That kind of production hasn't been seen since April, 2007, when they hit that mark against the Leafs in another 7-2 win and seven against Atlanta in that playoff shutout. Goals are fun. We like goals. We like to see the Rangers score a lot of goals.
Of course, we can't get ahead of ourselves here either; the Rangers netted seven against one horrendous hockey club. But they did it, and they got a pair of points in the standings - and that is all that matters.
*I actually had a Leaf fan friend at the game and he pointed out that Toronto actually looked tired before the game even started. They were woeful. There was no speed, few passes connecting and a goaltender who couldn't block a breeze. For all of the money spent rebuilding their blueline, the Leafs D was in utter disarray.
*A lot of that was due to the relentless Ranger attack. The Blueshirts kept the heat on and rebounded from yet another doldrum of a second period to close out strong. At one time Vesa Toskala was seen as the same kind of star as Kiprusoff and Nabokov. Can you believe that? Ever since their goalie coach Warren Strelow passed away, Toskala has been terrible. And the Rangers kept throwing pucks at him and they kept going in.
*Dan Girardi got two, Sean Avery got two, Ryan Callahan got one, Marian Gaborik got one and even Wade Redden got one. Seriously. Wade Redden scored. It was a nice goal too, on a helluva shot. And he had two assists. Wade Redden. I cheered for him, really. He was his usual horrific self defensively - got walked around twice that I saw - but at least he was productive.
*Now I didn't cheer for Donald Brashear. In fact, I rooted against him in his bout with Colton Orr. Brash was clearly stronger than Orrsie and threw more punches but most were at Orr's helmet. Orr landed a few better punches and knocked Brash's helmet off but was tossed around like a rag doll. It was a Shakespearean fight - full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
*Even with the win or draw in the tussle, Brashear gets a massive fail for his performance in this one. Why keep an enforcer in the lineup if he doesn't enforce anything? Toronto crashed the Ranger crease with ease and knocked into Hank at least four times that I saw. And where was the Donald?
*The Rangers did get a measure of revenge when Sean scored his second goal of the game with Jason Blake in the box for goaltender interference. But by then the game was well in hand so what message does that send? Blake scored a goal earlier and he cost his team a goal with the penalty. But he managed to nail the netminder and escaped unscathed (even with Avery jumping on him).
*I hate Jason Blake.
*For all of that talk about Betts, Sjostrom and Orr being no good because they wouldn't get to play due to Torts' philosophy of leaning heavily on his higher lines, there was a lot of parity on the ice this evening. Only Brash logged less than 10 minutes (9:15) and only Cally and Staalsie saw more than 20 (22:07 and 21:11 respectively).
*As for the new fourth liners, Voros was scratched and Boyle was invisible. Ales Kotalik was thrown with Boyle and Brash and he clearly does not fit with them. Different speed, different outlook, different ability. Kotalik still saw power play time and showed off that heavy howitzer of a shot that he has. He got a hold of one puck that he sent wide and it thundered into the endboards, wow.
*MDZ played pretty well. He had his ups and his downs over the game but when you think that he is 19 you can kind of accept it. Hobey Gilroy, on the other hand, was invisible for the second straight game. Definitely would like to see more out of him, and soon.
*As for the other blueliners, I mentioned Redden before (I will not compliment him again) while Rozy drew a penalty and managed to avoid big turnovers but he wasn't particularly good. Dan Girardi was particularly good; no cheapo empty netters tonight, just two good goals. After getting called onto the carpet for a mediocre preseason, Girardi has been the Rangers best blueliner. Staalsie has had his moments but at times seems to be doing too much.
*Chris Higgins can't buy a goal. This is good in that it will help lower his stock and his asking price this coming offseason, but it is bad in that he can't score. There will be a time where the Rangers will need scoring (whenever Gabby gets hurt) and Higgins will need to step up.
*Gabby can score: he has been everything we hoped for so far. And more, actually, with his penalty killing and occasional checking. At the same time, I say a little prayer every time he battles through traffic or works the boards ...
*The Garden reported another sell-out and you just have to laugh at the creative accounting. Both Sunday's game and tonight's had a lot of empty seats around the arena (several hundred, easily). If you can't fill the place to the gills on a Sunday matinee or a holiday evening, there is something wrong. You might as well be the Devils.
*The Leafs may have played poorly, but they definitely looked good doing it. Those jerseys were beautiful. You just can't beat Original Six sweaters.
*You can beat on idiots wearing Islander jerseys. What kind of person intentionally wears that rag to the Garden for a Ranger/Leaf game? And, how sad is the current state of our fans that he was able to walk out unscathed? Now I am all for respecting away fans, but when the guy is standing up asking for it ...
*PHW Three Stars
3-Wade Redden - one goal and two assists.
2-Sean Avery - two goals.
1-Dan Girardi - two goals.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Vinny Prospal - Prospal quietly put together a great two-way game. He backchecked and made some solid defensive plays while collecting a pair of assists. Dru was almost as impressive ... almost.
2-Cally - Sometimes teams give players letters on their jersey and it weighs them down (Jagr, Leetch). Other times teams give players letters on their jersey and the player steps up his game to live up to the honour.
1-Avery - Of course. Avery was Avery: he made some good hits, took a lot more (including one big one from Colt), yapped quite a bit and scored two goals. That is one helluva performance.