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.


Schram said...

I'm shocked Henrik wasn't in your top 3 stars since he made some incredible saves (more than Mmmmmaaaarrttyyy) and kept the Rangers in the game.

Puck Central said...

I actually didn't think that either goalie was spectacular last night. Brodeur made a few decent saves in the 3rd. But, is it just me or does he look like he's been really shaky in net recently. ie. Coughing up the puck, big rebounds, not looking set for shots, flopping around like a fish outta water.

Anonymous said...

Brodeur hasn't been the same since his injury. He is defintely on the "back 9" of his career. Scotty's review of the game is pretty spot on in my opinion, although Clarkson has been playing really well thus far this season, and I wouldn't call him a "minor leaguer," and i never understood Scotty's man-crush on Avery either.

Pete said...

Speaking to chemistry, I thought that the first period was incredibly lacking of the speed and chemistry that we have seen up to this point this season. I have to believe it was because they were trynig to make the "smart" play, knowing that the devils were getting behind the D every single time, and burying the puck in net as well. As for the line changes, I don't belieev that changing the lines in the middle of the game is a good thing, but, to Torts' credit, it did seem to throw off the Devils' game a bit, and we scored two goals in the second. So, madness: plausible; method: confirmed.

Marty has been a shell of himself since his injury. You still can't beat him glove side unless you have a rocket of a shot, but his positioning is off and his lateral movement is down. He's not going to make the acrobatic saves anymore. Whether he can't or he won't is up for speculation. The idea then is to catch him moving. If the Devils didn't block so many shots last night, it would have been a 5-2 game.

Staalsie hurt himself by going for a check on the boards and missing/half-hitting. I forget against who. It looked like he tried to adjust speed goign in and I think he tweaked the ol' groin. Hopefully it won't be a serious injury. Then again, his level of play last night indicates he may need a night off. I think he knows that he's the most solid defensive defenseman and he's trying to do too much. Case in point, on the second goal, he got caught up ice and was responsible for the turnover, but actually made it back to offset the odd man rush...but then mistakenly took the shooter, who was already covered, when he should have had the guy who skated around him...and scored, pretty handily on a surprised (and deep in his net) Henrik.

Rozy played well, but I think Redden did least Joe and Sam thought so...but, Joe and Sam also have trouble getting the names straight, could have been Darius Kasparitis on the ice for all I know. Sam actually called the game tied when the
Rangers scored to make it 2-1. Really, I think it's time for MSG to pull the trigger on the broadcast booth team. Even Sam, god bless him. Throw Richter in there for color commentary (or Maloney, if Richter is too busy with politics) and find a play-by-play man.

NYR34 said...

As I mentioned last night to you at the Garden, if I had seen Gilroy in a vacuum based solely on last night, I'd say that he needs to visit lovely downtown Hartford for a while to get his game in shape.

However, the lack of chemistry was painful to watch, as well as the continuing inability to play 60 minutes of solid hockey were both the main reasons for the loss.

tbassler said...

New Jersey was clogging up the neutral zone like the Rangers are supposed to. Staal tried to stick handle around somebody and got caught.

Staal is a great defensive defenseman and he is being pushed for more offense. Torts is pushing him to do something he has never done since he has been here.

I would much rather have him play his game than try to turn him into a different player at this point, but only time will tell.

Girardi has benefitted greatly from being teamed with Staal. I called him out even last year as being way overrated. I wouldn't be surprised if he doesn't get re-signed this summer.

Duniyadnd said...

Woah, I'm beginning to lose a lot of respect for Torts to be honest with you. It's very similar to what happened to the Giants game last week. He just wasn't prepared and had no plan B.

And then he had the audacity to blame Callahan for his lack of play (

especially when Drury hasn't done much to earn the "C" on his sweater - they haven't announced that he was injured, he may be, but they may as well let him recover - if they can let Brashear do it due to soreness, they need to get the captain up and running for a long season which is ahead of them.