Sunday, February 7, 2010
26-26-7: Here He Comes To Save The Day!
Let the entire NHL hate Sean Avery. Let the refs grind their axes against him. It's ok. Really. It is ok because New York loves Sean Avery and Avery loves New York. On a night where Henrik Lundqvist makes Mmmmaaaarrrrttttyyyy Brodeur look like a house league goaltender, on a night when hell freezes over and Chris Drury scores an important goal, it was Sean Avery who saved the day.
No, Avery didn't mess with Mmmmaaaarrrrttttyyyy but instead he turned his talents upon Ilya Kovalchuk. New Jersey was pressuring and getting deep in the Ranger end late in the third period but Avery provoked Kovy and the Russian lost his mind. Both players got double minors (Kovalchuk should have gotten more) and both went to the box. That meant that Sean got Devils' top scorer off the ice with less than three minutes to go to preserve a 3-1 win for the Rangers.
Were the Henrik Lundqvist glove saves monumental? No doubt. Was Drury's goal a nail in the heart of New Jersey? Absolutely. But Avery being Avery was what closed another fantastic chapter in the Hudson rivalry. It was smart, calculated hockey by the super pest and exactly why love him in New York. Go Sean.
*Kind of ironic that Hank made at least a half dozen outstanding glove saves and Mmmmaaaarrrrttttyyyy gives up the eventual game-winner on a shot right past his catcher. Mmmmaaaarrrrttttyyyy, Mmmmaaaarrrrttttyyyy, Mmmmaaaarrrrttttyyyy ...
*Late in the third but prior to Avery's achievement, there was the most exotic of animals on the ice - a cycling Ranger side. The Blueshirts capably moved the puck around the New Jersey zone for what seemed like an eternity. And they were sending crisp, clean simple passes around while moving their feet and getting to space. It was incredible. Just as they seem to have learned that dumping and chasing isn't a good game plan, they are hopefully learning to cut down on the cuteness in their passing. Simple, direct feeds work just as well, if not better, than blind behind-the-back drops.
*Gabby's tic-tac-toe power play goal to open the night's scoring was sweet. Gabby finally made some space for himself on the doorstep and Ryan Callahan turned a feed from Michael Del Zotto down to the open superstar for the tap-in.
*As I mentioned up top, Chris Drury actually scored. His off-balance shot somehow went through a screen and past Mmmmaaaarrrrttttyyyy to make it 3-0 Rangers. It was a nice consolation for the captain's terrible first period penalty and his two faceoff losses in the Ranger end in the final minutes.
*Matt Gilroy is under the weather; like Dan Girardi last season, Gilroy is suffering from Redden-itis - a horrible disease where a promising young defenseman has his growth stunted by being paired with the old albatross. Something should be done before it is too late to salvage some hope for Hobey.
*The ice crew was all wearing the new Olympic player-number tee shirts. It was a nice touch as the team tries to convince fans to spend $32 on a tee shirt.
*The Rangers debuted two new features on the big board on this night. First off they had a new pre-game montage where they dropped common players in with guys from days gone by. The other was a constant listing of which lines were on the ice. It was humourous watching some poor intern keep up with who was going over the boards but other than the comedy it was completely worthless. A numbered listing of players who are on the ice is just ridiculous.
*Brandon Prust fought Andrew Peters twice, for no apparent reason than entertaining the former Sabre and justifying his paycheque. The first tussle went on forever and was horrible, with Prust holding onto the glass behind him for some inexplicable reason. The second should never have happened. Peters dropped his gloves and Prust could have skated away, giving the Rangers a power play. Instead he waited until the refs saw that he didn't want to go and then fought him anyway - and got his ass kicked in another boring bout. This kid is supposed to be a improvement over the imbecile Donald Brashear, he should start acting like it.
*There was a lot of red in the building but really not as much as expected. I think there were just as many, if not more, Washington fans on Thursday but luckily these guys walked out disappointed. Amid the army of red, I spotted a half dozen or so Cardiff Devils fans. Let's hope the Welsh weren't rooting for their namesakes.
*The Boys & Girls Club of Harlem Choir Alumni sang the national anthem and I have to admit that they did a helluva job. They needed to give a little more space where we scream "Let's Go Rangers" after "gallantly streaming..." but that was the only complaint. Their singing was spectacular.
*Olli "Doll's Eyes" Jokinen needs to get his game together. He took yet another bad minor, his fourth in two games. Sure, he is more involved than Ales Kotalik ever was but he needs to be smarter and better.
I'm sure there is more but a bit of college hockey and a bit of celebration after the Ranger game has taken its toll. Keep an eye on my twitter @truebluefan329 for anything that may cross my mind in the morning (or at this rate, afternoon) tomorrow.
*PHW Three Stars
3-Marian Gaborik - one goal.
2-Ryan Callahan - one goal and one assist.
1-Henrik Lundqvist - 41 saves.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Cally - He kills penalties, he hits, he shoots, he scores.
2-Avery - Sure he didn't screw with Mmmmaaaarrrrttttyyyy and missed a great scoring chance but he came through anyway in the end.
1-Hank - Mmmmaaaarrrrttttyyyy who? The Swede owns Fatso in MSG and hopefully will in Vancouver as well.