Monday, March 15, 2010
31-29-9: A-very Fun Afternoon
The other night at work, after the win in Atlanta, a co-worker said to me that I must be happy that the Rangers are making their annual late push for the playoffs. I laughed and launched into the rant that I had blogged in the Thrasher recap: winning is nice and all but it would be in our best long-term interest to lose. Well, I guess we have to live for today and today the Rangers beat the Flyers 3-1 at the Garden.
A win against a rival is always great, a win over the rival who embarrassed us in their building two months ago is even better. Sure Dan Carcillo didn't get his comeuppance for the Gaborik incident but, you know what? Beating them in the manner that we did was just as satisfying. The Blueshirts minimized their mistakes, got two goals from Sean Avery and had Brandon Dubinsky beat the living hell out of their captain, Mike Richards. Let's face it, seeing that dirtbag Carcillo go down would have been nice but Philadelphia's captain? Money.
*If you didn't see that tussle, take a look. Dubi dismantles Richards quick - gets the helmet right off, got the jersey up and used his strength to keep Richards down while landing some bombs. Brandon Dubinsky. Look at where he came from; too bad his offensive progression has not been as extreme. I feel like a broken record but if he can ever put everything together, he can be as good as Jason Arnott was in his prime.
*Now the reason for the headline for this piece: Sean Avery was outstanding. Avery drew a few power plays and scored a few goals in an 'engaging' performance. It was awesome to watch but keep one thing in mind - it totally justified Tortorella's actions. Now we don't know if Avery stepped up his game because of the benching or because he was facing his old adversary Sideshow Scott Hartnell. But no matter the real reason, Torts comes out of the move looking golden - which may or may not be a good thing. If he realizes that scratching a player does result in improved play, perhaps he will do it more often - accountability and all that.
*Of course, I still want Michal Rozsival to take a seat. Every dog has his day and this was his - a perfect power play one-timer that went off the post and in for the eventual game-winner. It was Tom Poti-esque. How appropriate. No, I did not boo when he scored, I was doubled over laughing hysterically. Let's have some more laughs - caption the photo to the right of Rozy and Christy.
*Arty Anisimov and Olli Jokinen should also be chastised for their poor play of late and both took bad penalties in this one. Arty got off the hook with a good kill by the Blueshirts in the third but Jokinen's stupid spinning slash three minutes in set up Philly's first goal. As a veteran, he should be smarter and his on-ice play has been lacking in general of late. No wonder Calgary was all too happy to get rid of him - he shows up once every once and a while and this day and age players in his position need to contribute all the time.
*The Rangers deserve credit for playing a physical game (for once). From MDZ's hit on Carcillo early on, the Blueshirts (aside from Wade Redden, of course) played the body. It was the smartest thing they could do as it kept the Flyers from carrying over any momentum from that dramatic win on Saturday.
*Anyone else panic a bit when Hank was ran over by that idiot Arron Asham in the second? Not just the hit, but the aftermath when skates were swinging around the crease and there was Hank, helmetless.
*For those of you who haven't, please vote in the poll on the right and follow me on Twitter. If you voted Yes! you want the Rangers in the playoffs, you are in the unenviable position of rooting for the Devils - yes, the Devils - tomorrow night as Fatso and company face Boston on Versus.
*PHW Three Stars
3-Henrik Lundqvist - 17 saves.
2-Michal Rozsival - one goal.
1-Sean Avery - two goals.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Dubi - What a fight, seriously.
2-Erik Christensen - Christy was dominant on faceoffs and that went a long way towards controlling the action. He collected a pair of assists and was a constant threat on offense. This guy was a waiver wire pickup.
1-Avery - Yeah. Go Sean.