He slapped them around and sent them home with their third straight loss.
And the best part of it? The Stars paid him to do it. Seeing as they are on the hook for half his salary after buying him out last year, the same Dallas team that openly loathed him when he was signed by their side - Marty Turco, Mike Modano, Brendan Morrow especially - were whipped like the gimp in Pulp Fiction. This was a performance by the Sean Avery of old, the one prior to the Tortorella playoff castration last season. It was a work of art from Mr. Avery, who was still hit by the officiating for 12 minutes in penalties (one an undeserved misconduct, the other a deserved cross check). Hopefully Grossman's aggression not only unleashed his team's demise, but that of the remainder of the Ranger opponents. With Sean Avery playing as he did and with Marian Gaborik and Henrik Lundqvist playing as they always do, this Blueshirt squad is that much more difficult to beat, despite all of it's flaws.
But how long will it last? We'll certainly see, starting tomorrow. But first, notes on tonight:
*Marty Turco was terrible.
*Karlis Skrastins was not. I pointed out Skrastins to a friend before the game, professing my admiration for the Latvian defender. My buddy had no idea who he was and laughed. In the third period Turco went wandering, leaving an open net and Skrastins came flying in to lay out and block the certain Ranger goal. It was one of the best defensive plays I have seen in the Garden and it left everyone in the building breathless. Lat-V-ia, Lat-V-ia!
*And there was a lot of people in the building. Sure it wasn't as full as it was for the Christmas week games, but there was a very good showing by the True Blue.
*I know he is not with the organization anymore but watching the Ranger power play makes me want to punch Perry Pearn.
*Avery gets knocked around after most every whistle, Marian Gaborik takes a few cheap shots, Hank gets hit once or twice. Donald Brashear tries to start a fight in the final seconds when the game is already over at 5-2. This troglodyte needs to be sent back to the Stone Age and left there.
*Enver Lisin saw limited action but made a fantastic forecheck where he forced a Dallas turnover. Of course, he screwed it all up by passing to Brashear open in front - who completely shanked the shot - but credit must be given to the kid for keeping up a high energy level in limited minutes.
*Dallas, dudes, Chris Drury scored against you. Ha.
*I kept yelling at Brian Boyle throughout the game, calling him by the more appropriate moniker Susan. There was a poor girl sitting near me who clearly was named Susan and kept turning around thinking I was yelling at her. I felt bad. If you are out there darlin', sorry.
*It would be easy to get on Alice Kotalik as always but the Czech had one incredible blast past Turco in the second period and then proceeded to add insult to the injury by running the Dallas netminder in the third. Not too shabby, for once.
*Just glanced at the final box score, saw Michal Rozsival with his two assists. And yet he was still -2. This guy is a disaster out there and it is rare that someone gets points in the Garden and is booed so mercilessly. Ok, maybe not that rare, but Rozy is horrific.
*Think the officiating was afraid of losing control of the game? They called 12 minor penalties. And the Rangers took six of them, and
*We've seen plenty of puck over the years but can anyone remember so many posts getting hit night after night?
*How in the world was Stephane Robidas, he of the cowardly cage, not called for a delay of game when he just fell on the puck and stayed on it in the Dallas zone in the third period?
*Mike Ribeiro went down like a ton of bricks after being slapped by an errant stick, spends minute after minute down on the ice and there was no blood to be seen. How was he not called for a dive or delay of game himself? EDIT: I just read it was a slash across the throat, so I feel a little bad. But not really.
*Programming note, no Peepin' Foes for Atlanta tomorrow night (MSG+, 7p). I will try to get a post-game up before catching an early morning train to Bahston Friday for the BU/BC outdoor game and the Ranger game on Saturday but no guarantees.
*PHW Three Stars
3-Ales Kotalik - one goal.
2-Henrik Lundqvist - 25 saves.
1-Sean Avery - one goal and three assists.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
1-Avery - Sean deserves all three stars because he was the engine that ran the Rangers to a huge home win. People around the NHL wonder why we love this guy so much in New York ... well, tonight was case in point. Avery does it all, Avery gives it all and Avery doesn't give a damn what you think about. That is New York. And after a spectacular night, Avery was asked what he liked best, his goal or his spin-o-rama assist on Chris Drury's goal and he replied "the win." Attaboy Aves. Good answer. No go out and do it again tomorrow.