The Buffalo Sabres made major changes to their scouting department a few years ago - deciding to go with less scouts and more scouting by video. It begs the question, what their pro scouts were watching when looking at the Rangers? The Sabres certainly didn't get the memo that you have to shoot high to beat Henrik Lundqvist.
But really, I don't mind in the least.
Hank made some great kick saves to keep the Rangers in Saturday night's game and two guys other than Marian Gaborik scored as they beat Buffalo 2-1. Sure Gabby got an assist, but it was none other than Ryan Callahan and Chris Higgins who scored the Ranger goals. Really. Cally and Chris. Who'da thunk it?
The Blueshirts, of course, had to make it interesting by allowing a late goal but thankfully held on to break a three game losing streak. Of their last six wins, the only time I felt the lead was safe was against Columbus and even then, they slacked off and let the Blue Jackets score two goals to get back in the game.
As there is a quick turnaround to tomorrow's game against Detroit, I will just throw out all of the randomness in my head:
*Why is Donald Brashear's injury officially listed as undisclosed? I thought it was clear that he suffers from Wizard of Oz Syndrome - no heart, no courage and no brain.
*Just a reminder, I am finally on Twitter. Feel free to follow @truebluefan329; someone had taken and deleted Scotty Hockey and Twitter wouldn't give it to me (bastards) so I'm truebluefan329. Just a warning, until I get a new phone there will be days where it isn't updated much.
*Apparently all of the good luck wishes from Ranger fans during Toys For Tots paid off as Chris Higgins actually scored. Arty made a great steal, got it to Gaborik for a perfect pass to Higgins on the far side and for the first time in ages, someone other than Gaborik showed off a quick release to score. Sam was hesitant to announce it a goal as it quickly came right back out - bring up the old argument that the nets are too taunt. I, for one, definitely miss seeing the puck pushing the net out ...
*Marc Staal has a huge game. First the heroic penalty kill action, then the long feed to start the Cally scoring play.
*In the first period Ales Kotalik took out Adam Mair and was penalized. It would be unremarkable if not for the fact that it was the second time this season Kotalik has made a borderline hit and didn't answer the bell - hiding instead behind the officiating. I hate to be all Don Cherry but that's a stereotypical "European" move and one that is sickening to see.
*On the other side of the xenophobic coin, our first exposure to Ilkka Heikkinen was the Finn making a slick move to attempt to keep the puck in the Sabre zone early in the first period. The puck crossed the line but Heikkinen went on to play a strong game with limited minutes.
*Speaking of Ranger defensemen, great to see James Patrick again. He was one of my favourite players growing up. And for them to feature him on trivia? Awesome. (How many blueliners played more games as a Blueshirt than him? Four: Neilson, Howell, Leetch and Gresh.)
*Chris Drury probably played his best game to date, not like that is saying much.
*Is it me or does former Islander Tim Connolly step up his game every time he plays the Rangers? Jerk.
*Speaking of jerks, Sean Avery played pretty well for yet another game. He rang Ryan Miller's bell early in the second with a rising shot; it was about time he got back to badgering the opposing goaltender. As we know all too well, as Avery goes, so does the Rangers.
*Why is it that team after team gets goals called back because referees blow the whistle too fast and yet when Hank has the puck they seem to count to five before blowing it??
*Brian Boyle. Dude. An empty net and he hits the post. An empty net. I was about to give him kudos for standing up for Hank when Clarke MacArthur crashed the crease early in the third period. But screw that. Oversized idiot. Empty net. Coulda iced the game and instead his miss allows Buffalo gets back in it. Dammit.
*I didn't realize Enver Lisin was playing until I saw the shift-time chart in between the second and third periods. That isn't a good thing.
*New guy Erik Christensen won every faceoff that I saw and that is a very good thing, especially on the road. I look forward to watching him tomorrow to see if he can keep up the success.
*PHW Three Stars
3-Ryan Miller - 30 saves.
2-Marian Gaborik - one assist.
1-Henrik Lundqvist - 36 saves.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Hank - Sure the Sabres got him moving side to side quite a bit but he rarely was challenged.
2-Staal - Hank got plenty of his help from his defense and no defender was better than Staalsie.
1-Higgins - Like Cally, Higgins played on both special teams and were great on both sides of the ice. And they both scored. In the same game! Boo ya.