Friday, October 23, 2009
7-3-0: At Least It Wasn't A Shutout
Entering this evening's game between the Rangers and the Devils I thought that the Rangers would lose and I prayed it wasn't a shutout. The worse thing I could imagine seeing on Garden ice is Mmmmmaaaaarrrtttyyyyy celebrating another record. Luckily, he didn't get it as the Rangers scored twice in what would be a 4-2 loss.
To the Blueshirts credit, they had several chances to draw even after giving up that pathetic excuse for a go-ahead goal by Dainius Zubrus. But they didn't, and they lost their second straight. Seeing as they face a motivated Mexican't in Montreal on Saturday, hot Phoenix Coyotes on Monday and the always-tough Islanders after that, these two losses could snowball real fast.
So what happened and what has to be done going forward?
*The Rangers need to find some chemistry. As my buddy the Gregger pointed out, they didn't seem to be on the same page with each other as passes went awry and players were forced to dump pucks as they found themselves without support.
*Of course, having Torts take a page out of the Renney playbook and start juggling lines with the game in reach certainly didn't help. With Renney it was a clear sign of a desperate man. I'm not sure what it is with Torts, yet.
*Sean Avery has to find the edge and go back to playing there. After the refs came down hard on him against San Jose, he seemed to sit back in this one. Avery stayed away from Mmmmmaaaarrrtttyyy and didn't have a big encounter with David Clarkson. He did have a helluva fight with Mike Mottau, but - somehow - the Devils got the boost and scored minutes later.
*The Rangers blueline bites. There is no presence in front of the crease and no one is particularly physical. Marc Staal was horrendous and culpable in all three of the real Devil goals, plus he got hurt somehow (perhaps a puck to the groin, I couldn't tell) in the second period and wasn't the same. He struggled skating and could hardly get to his feet after falling along the boards on the play that led to Ales Kotalik's goal.
*Matt Gilroy seems to be feeling the wrath of Redden Syndrome - the same disease that sapped the skill out of Girardi last season - and struggled to get his positioning right.
*Rozy actually had a good game and made a great defensive play in the second period that left my jaw on the ground. I wish I could remember the details but I am still in shock.
*As impressed as I was by that Rozy play, MDZ was probably the best Ranger skater. The kid stood up for Hank, made good passes and was able to keep up with his men. Seeing him diving after the Parise shot towards the empty net was really a telling testament to his effort.
*Considering Ryan Callahan missed practice Wednesday with the flu (!), that he could even play in this was remarkable and that he had several good scoring chances as well was all the more impressive.
*Dru and Higs, however, need to get their games together. They were invisible. Brian Boyle played more than 10 minutes less than both of them and he had more of an impact with a good scoring chance. That's just sad.
*I called Arty Anisimov wooden after his first game last season, but watching him lumber around out there for yet another game I think he may have earned the moniker Frankenstein. I think he (and Enver Lisin for that matter) would benefit from Geno Grachev coming back. Something about that big kid made Arty play with more confidence (and grace).
*Brash didn't play, citing "soreness." From what? He didn't do ANYTHING against San Jose. Why not just admit that he was scratched because Jersey scratched Peters and Aaron Voros is just as capable as Brash to waste four minutes of ice time doing nothing?
*I'm sure there is more but I didn't catch Rangers Rewind; right after the game ended I went right to a concert and got home quite late. As always, feel free to fill in the blanks and add your two cents in the comments.
*PHW Three Stars
3-Dainius Zubrus - one goal.
2-Ales Kotalik - one goal and one assist.
1-Zach Parise - one goal and two assists.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Johnny Oduya - Where Oduya was responsible for the Devils loss in the first Battle of the Hudson this season, he turned his fortunes around tonight with a very strong performance. He was solid and when he finally did something dumb (the interference penalty), the game was already won.
2-Mmmmmaaaaarrrtttyyyyy - While I am loathe to give him credit for most anything, Fatso did make some big saves.
1-Colin White - White's third period desperation dive to knock the puck away from Cally saved the game for the Devils. That simple. Sure Parise grabbed a few points, but White's play was more pivotal.