Wednesday, January 13, 2010

22-17-7: Heartbreaker

The Rangers played their best game of the season and came out without a win on Tuesday night, falling 1-0 to the Devils (of all teams) in a shootout. The match had end-to-end action from start to finish and served as a slap in the face to Bettman and the other idiots who insist that the sport of hockey needs more scoring.

As I've pointed out many times in the past: there are good losses and there are bad losses and this was a good one for the Rangers. They earned a point against the top team in the conference despite being unable to break Jacques Lemaire's trap and get more than a handful of actual scoring chances. It was outright painful to see Mmmmaaarrrttyyy be attributed with 55 saves in the game (including the four in the shootout) considering he barely need to break a sweat. Especially as poor Hank was under fire on the other end. The Devils moved with ease into scoring positions to get off good shots but the Ranger defense did quite well to limit second chances.


*Anyone else remember the NY/Florida, Richter vs Vanbiesbrouck battle back in the day? I felt like tonight's tilt had a lot of similar qualities ... unfortunately this post-lockout match had to have the shootout instead of ending 0-0.

*It is strange to say but from top to bottom, the Blueshirt blueline was outstanding. Rozsival played his best game as a Ranger since Jaromir Jagr left and even Wade Redden wasn't bad steering rebounds away from the crease.

*Hank made good save after good save as Bergfors, Rolston and Parise sliced through the Ranger zone to get off quality shots. After watching Lundqvist sprawl, dive and butterfly back and forth to make so many stops, it was disappointing that his glove hand was completely frozen as Patrik Elias' game-winner flew by.

*Where the Devil sniper scored, Marian Gaborik tried to be too cute and Mmmmaaarrrttyyy had little trouble stopping him. It was a stark contrast from Gaborik's cut to the net and shot in the OT that trickled past Fatso only to hit the far post. I had a perfect view from my perch in 329 and that was just oh-so-close.

*Vinny Prospal's return was alright but not great. He was clearly rusty and ran out of gas by the overtime. Once he gets the feet back under him, it is clear that he will be a big help, especially with Christensen still playing well (shootout 'attempt' notwithstanding).

*Brian Boyle played to the best of his ability, but his stone hands cost the Rangers a win. How the guy gets a breakaway and doesn't make a move and shoots it right at the opposing netminder is beyond me. He earned some redemption with his physical play late in the third period but the simple fact is that he bricked with the game on his stick.

*Much like Ales Kotalik. That guy is a disgrace. He was brought in for his shot on the power play and his ability in the shootout but he couldn't get a shot off with the man advantage and, for the second straight shootout, completely underwhelmed with his skill competition "effort." Three million dollars a year for three years. If they want to carry a power play and circus sideshow specialist, P.A. Parenteau would be a much cheaper option.

*Why was Donald Brashear dressed when New Jersey scratched Andrew Peters and, with Fatso in net, scoring was sure to be at a premium? Enver Lisin's breakaway speed would have been a bigger boon than anything that was brought by the lumber goon.

*The Avery/Mmmmaaaarrrtttyyy battle never escalated beyond some trash talking behind the plays and occasional contact - reminders to each other that they knew where the other was. Avery did play a good game and got some decent shots on net but Chris Higgins was never there (or able) to finish them off. Arty Anisimov showed he isn't the proper center for those wingers, at least now. The kid needs some more muscle so he can power to the net more often. If he gets that, it will free Avery and Higgins to get the garbage goals instead of it being them constantly trying to work the puck off the boards.

*It would be easy to harp on the officiating missing so many calls early on but at least they didn't go the easy route and make nickel-dime Avery Rule calls all night. For the most part they let the teams play the game and it was much better for it. Of course, the Rangers having to deal with 1:39 of a 5-on-3 was a little stupefying but they miraculously pulled out the kill and injected serious life into the Garden.

*There were a good number of Devil fans scattered around the building but, thankfully for all parties involved, they only came to life after Elias scored to seal the game and even then were a bit subdued.

*The music in the Garden was marginally better than usual but was still a far cry from the fun bands I heard in Fenway.

*Parise, Travis Zajac and defenseman Andy Greene were all outstanding for the Devils. And that is all I will say about that.

*Re-reading this, it comes off as quite pessimistic - like many of my posts - but the game was quite impressive. It was exciting, entertaining and a great time. It was just the result that was heartbreaking. Damned Devils.

*PHW Three Stars
3-Patrik Elias - shootout goal.
2-Henrik Lundqvist - 45 saves.
1-Martin Brodeur - 51 saves.

Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Parise - I hate you Hugh Jessiman.
2-Mmmmaaaarrrtttyyy - Ok, so I wasn't impressed with most of his saves but tubby still made them and skated away with the win. Boo.
1-Hank - Could you imagine how good the King would be behind a Lemaire system?


mike said...

Yes, you are being harsh on Brian Boyle for sure for the butchering of his breakaway. He played a great game last night, by far his best as a Ranger. He was destroying people all over the ice last night, absorbing hits like they weren't even there. I guess that means he'll be invisible for the next five games, though.

You are right on about Lisin over Brashear last night. And how about Christensen losing the puck during the shootout? Three out of the last eight shootout attempts by this team have not even resulted in a shot attempt.....maybe they should practice it a little?

Anonymous said...

Scotty 3 Stars

2 - Marty

1 - Hank

ppffttt, nice one. way to be objective!

Justin said...

Even my girlfriend, a Louisianan who knows nothing about hockey, was totally sucked in by this game. Absolutely thrilling until ugh, the shootout.

Ilikebeinganonymous said...

That is now 2 wins and 1 loss against the Rangers for the Devils this season now Scotty:)

Pete said...

Hank definitely had to make the tougher saves in that game, a point that even VS made by giving Hank the nod near the end of regulation.

It's funny, but you can actually see that Hank is holding his glove much higher off his pads than he had been earlier in the season, and to be fair, his glove HAS been sharper as of late. The scouting report must still be to go glove side high as two of the four attempts against went that way, including the game winner. You have to wonder what happened over the last 4 seasons that has made Hank less of a threat in the shootout. Is it just the weak glove? Is he not challenging the shooter enough, and not working the angles? Very curious.

Anonymous said...

I see I'm not the only one who has noticed Hank's glovehand being a lot higher. That Elias shot was a straight snipe though, it was like right past Hank's ear.

That was an amazing game. The Rangers even had a fair amount of quality shots. Higgins still had at least two whiffs in the paint... but overall a great game. I'd kill to have Parise on this team


tradershort said...

No, you don't really come of as pessimistic Scotty. You make some great points. I was SCREAMING when Boyle didn't deke!!! Couldn't agree more about Brashear. Why this guy is dressed regularly is a constant mystery to me.

Also , great points about Avery playing w/Anisimov and Higgins. THIS GUY IS GOOD AND CAN SCORE. Hasn't he proven that to goddamn Tororella yet??? He also adds an EMOTIONAL component which most of the Euros & Russians sorely LACK. It's called HEART. Guys like Avery add this intangible element which is essential for winning teams. USE IT.

Why saddle Avery w/these clowns on the f'ing 3rd line? I've said it before. MOVE HIM TO THE 2nd line and LEAVE HIM THERE. Now that Torts knows Christy can play (after USING HIM for more than 4min a game) I'd like to see Avery on the 2nd line w/Dubi back at center and Callahan on the other wing. Let Dru center the THIRD line w/Higgins (where they BOTH BELONG) and Kotalik or Lisin (pick your poison). The 4th line can be centered by Boyle or Anisimov.

Prospal -Christensen - Gaborik
Avery - Dubinski - Callahan
Kotalik - Drury - Higgins
Boyle - Anisimov - Lisin

Scratch: Voros and Brashear unless we need an enforcer against a particular foe.

Anonymous said...

You do know the trap is used when a team has the lead not when the game is tied.

Anonymous said...

Not true...the trap is used all game long

Anonymous said...

That's not true about the trap at all. Some teams will slink back into it, but the Devs, esp under Lemaire, use that thing all game long.


rusty said...

A great game to be at - imagine a Ranger - Devil game with 96 shots! The problem was that the Rangers got very little traffic in front of Marty and he had a good view of almost every shot. We all know that the way to beat him is to get in his face, distract him and get him off his game. Good cal on Lisin, Scotty. I said the same thiong to my brother in the 1st period. Also had a perfect look at the Gaborik post from my seat in 415 - so close! Been saying for weeks how much better Rozy has been playing but this game was definitely his best.

rusty said...

P.S. Don't hate Hugh Jessiman. Hate the idiot who drafted him.

Anonymous said...

Hugh Jessiman, whilst kicking so much ass on the Milwaukee Admirals, holds the distinction of being the only first round pick of 2003 to never play in an NHL game.

Ilikebeinganonymous said...

Funny how the Rangers still had the shot advantage in a game where the Devils were "trapping" them. Love the excuses.

Anonymous said...

I need a second opinion, in a 14 team fantasy league does anyone think Prospal is worth picking up? Chris Kunitz is hurt and I was thinking of dropping him as Prospal is available, you figure with each team having 2 or 3 of each position top lines guys are somewhat at a premium

Anonymous said...

I don't think anyone here had a problem with the trap, just correcting a guy who was wrong.

Rusty's right about the lack of traffic. Higgins sucks at positioning for that, and can't even bat it in from two feet away. Avery's probably the best as screening, but it would be nice if a bigger player was goood at it.


Henrik Lundqvist Fan Blog said...

Such an amazing game!