Friday, March 5, 2010
29-27-8: Oh No, Not Again
I did not expect the Rangers to beat Pittsburgh so the loss isn't all that upsetting. Having a team that I rooted for lose in overtime with a Penguin scoring the game-winner for the second time in a week, however, was quite crushing. As with Team USA, the Rangers had a chance to beat a better opponent and couldn't seize the opportunity. Unlike the Americans, the Blueshirts didn't soil any last second heroics with extra frame failure - they blew a 4-3 lead amid a horrific third period and lost in OT 5-4.
Man, aren't the Rangers great at raising your hopes only to dash them on the rocks of futility?
However, there is a lot of solace to be found in tonight's heartbreak, so let's get into it:
*The Rangers stood up for themselves and each other. Hank coming out to go after Crosby was just the first moment of greatness that saw the Blueshirts standing their ground and standing up for their netminder. It is quite basic - having some form of fortitude and pride - but neither have been present on Broadway for quite some time so it was a delight to see.
*And it was hilarious to see Sean Avery mocking Max Talbot's slap fighting skills.
*Marian Gaborik did not play and yet the Rangers put four goals up on the scoreboard. Remarkable. And two of them came with the man advantage - just who was it wearing blue tonight because we have hardly seen skill of this sort this season.
*Those four goals came on just 12 shots and chased Stanley Cup goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury. That's pretty impressive.
*The Garden crowd gave the U.S. gold medal bobsled team a standing ovation that was truly heartwarming. The Olympic hockey players had one quick montage and that was it, with a smattering of applause.
*The Team USA penalty killing pair of Ryan Callahan and Chris Drury were together again and were just as good. In overtime I was looking at Cally when the puck dropped and mistakenly ripped on Dru for losing his stick. It was broken so he had to play without a twig and did a helluva job at it. It was another chapter to a great game by the captain and his cohort. I may just have to change my tune a little when it comes to Dru if he keeps up this quality play. That goal he scored was pretty damn sweet too.
Ok, it wouldn't be me if I didn't get into the notsogreat stuff:
*After chasing Fleury, the Rangers managed just four shots over the next half hour of play. Four. With the backup goaltender in net, they put four shots on him - and just one in the third period by Olli Jokinen from five feet out and none in overtime.
*That was the only time I noticed Olli doing much of anything. He collected a pair of second assists but I sure as hell didn't notice them. As has been mentioned before, most of the time second assists shouldn't count. They are just padding stats.
*Mike F-ing Rupp scored on the Rangers again. C'mon, Mike F-ing Rupp. What is it about the former Devil that equals goals in the Garden?
*And what is it about Wade Redden and Michal Rozsival that just equals failure? Redden, who actually wasn't doing too poorly early in the game, took a stupid, lazy penalty in overtime that handed the Pens the win. Rozy scored a goal (really, no lie) but, of course, had his piss poor defensive play end up behind Hank twice.
*As a unit, the blueliners have to be better. Marc Staal did a decent job chasing after Crosby for most of the night and Dan Girardi did what he could but that was about it. MDZ had some good moments but looked like he was a bit tentative - understandably so considering he was almost gutted the last time he took on Pittsburgh. Hobey doesn't seem to have the strength to hold off the opposition and Redden and Rozsival ... well, they just aren't good in their own end.
*I don't understand why the Garden entertainment staff hasn't stepped up to the plate - when Crosby threw his little fit for finally being called for a penalty (after Cindy got away with a number of clear infractions all night), they should have played "Big Girls Don't Cry" over the sound system.
*Enver Lisin tried to make at least two, if not three big hits ... and ended up flat on his behind each time. Kudos to the kid for tryin', but that was just sad. Much like his bff Arty's ability in the faceoff circle, or should I say lack of ability. Sure Arty got himself a goal in the first period but that was about the only thing he did right all night.
*The fourth line didn't see a second of ice time in the third period. Seeing as the forwards were playing on their heels through out the frame, perhaps a energy shift by the big, strong tough guys could have turned the tables and shoved the Pens back.
*PHW Three Stars
3-Chris Drury - one goal.
2-Alex Goligoski - one goal.
1-Jordan Staal - two goals and one assist.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Pascal Dupuis - The former Ranger was all over the ice. Luckily he doesn't have the skill to do much damage but his persistence was impressive.
2-Jordan Staal - Perhaps, for once, he played better than his brother. Perhaps.
1-Hank - The Ranger defensive effort was awful and this game very well could have been 14-4; instead the Blueshirts had a chance to win. The King collected 50 saves - most of which were fan-friggen-tastic - and showed the nerve to call out Crosby for being a diving baby.