Sunday, December 27, 2009
18-16-4: An Undeserved Point
The New York Rangers salvaged a point tonight with a last minute goal to force overtime before falling in the extra frame and losing 3-2 to the Islanders. The Rangers didn't deserve a point but they earned one so I guess we will call that our Christmas miracle.
The stage was set for the biggest, best game of the season to date: day after Christmas, the first legitimate sell-out since opening night, facing the Islanders - the Islanders who embarrassed them just weeks ago. It could have been wonderful.
Yet again the Rangers were outworked by their rivals, yet again they made Dwayne Roloson look like Patrick Roy, and yet again they sent their fans home disappointed. Don't get me wrong, there was some awesomeness in the evening. The Rangers opened the first period and ended the third with some of their best hockey of the season. They were a pleasure to watch forechecking, backchecking, matching the Islanders intensity ... but it was for all of about eight minutes. Of course, the game lasted just over 64. What a shame.
*The Islanders are younger, the Islanders are hungrier and the Islanders are better coached. And Tavares still hasn't done a damn thing in our building.
*The sheer joy that filled the Garden when Dubinsky tied it at two in the last minute is impossibly to quantify. Everyone went crazy. Even when the team was rolling earlier in that red hot start, there wasn't a single goal or save that comes close. It was the best moment of the season and it was fantastic.
*Dwayne Roloson, 36 saves and not a single difficult one. Amazing. Hank had to work a bit harder and buckled down late before losing his angle to allow Okposo to put the game-winner in off the post.
*The Rangers had several chances to get the put past Rolo but simply blew it. Chris Higgins' effort can't be questioned but the guy has reached the point where he would find it hard to find success in a house of ill repute with a full wallet.
*Line of the night, from the blue seats courtesy of my friend Rachel: "Can't we buy a goal?" "No, we don't have any room under the salary cap."
*Higgins, Cally, Avery and Dubi battled all night. Prospal rested on his two goals last game and disappeared. Gaborik let himself be marginalized. Anisimov clearly couldn't deal with the Isles physicality. Dru ... apparently his success against the Isles is limited to that dump in Uniondale. Kotalik is an outright disaster and needs to be benched again. Or set on fire.
*That would be accountability - like what Torts did to Boyle after Boyle blew a Ranger power play by dumping the puck into the stands. The BC grad hasn't contributed much of anything all season long and Torts just decided to bench him now. Ok.
*I missed much of Rangers in 60 but did Joe Micheletti really say that Kyle Okposo looked like Jarome Iginla? If so, WTF?
*And WTF is Brashear still doing on the roster? It takes Sean Avery to fight and get life into the building to start and then the goon gets ice time with the team down 2-0 in the lifeless second period and yet he circles aimlessly and goes back to the bench. What a waste.
*What were the Rangers doing constantly dumping the puck in and going to change? They started off the third period and the overtime doing it. They were in their own zone for 15, 20 seconds and got the puck out of the zone. One guy hustles it into the Islander end or chases after the dump and was left isolated as his linemates went for a change. Was it Tortorella limiting minutes? Was it their conditioning?
*Just reread this and noticed that I asked a lot of questions but I believe that is what we are working with as Ranger fans. Which team are they? The one that presses the action and scores big goals or is it the bloated corpse floating in the East River?
*Talking about corpses, Rozsival got himself two assists so he will likely not get the Redden treatment anytime soon despite being just as deserving. Redden ... well, do I have to say anything? Anything at all? Hobey played alright, as did Staalsie. Girardi and MDZ don't have any chemistry and it showed. MDZ keeps going out of position to make hits and is making a lot of turnovers but his effort and skill can not be denied. As I was reminded earlier this evening, defensemen usually take three seasons or so before they finally 'get it' so just imagine what he will be like when everything clicks!
*Nate Thompson, still a dirtbag. Brendan Witt, still looks like a dirtbag. I would say that he should get a haircut and donate his hair to Locks of Love but what kid would want that nasty, stringy mop of his?
*Stephen Walcom started the game as the lone referee. So how is it that with one less zebra on the ice the officials managed to get in the way of the play so many times?
*How hard is it to count to five? Apparently quite difficult as both teams took dumb too many men penalties.
*There are few things in this world that infuriate me more than seeing happy Islander fans. Violence against children. People other than me winning the lotto. The ever-increasing bill for my season tickets. Yeah, I think that's about it.
*PHW Three Stars
3-Dwayne Roloson - 36 saves.
2-Brandon Dubinsky - two goals.
1-Kyle Okposo - one goal and two assists.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Avery - Sure he got a pair of Avery Rules penalties with his unsportsmanlike and his goalie interference call but he seemed like the one Ranger who really wanted to beat the Islanders. Sure he pulls this schtick against other teams, but the fight and the multiple scrums certainly seemed to be personal to me.
2-Dubi - He won faceoffs, he went to the net and he paid the price to score. Imagine that, a Ranger battling for a goal.
1-Okposo - Whatever.