For all of the pregame talk about desperation, there was very little of it in MSG on Tuesday night as the Rangers lost to the Canadiens 3-1 in a dull, lifeless affair. It was pretty much par for the course for these Rangers, who have often followed up good wins with lackluster efforts. You just kinda hoped that with the playoff carrot hanging so close, they would lunge to get it.
The Rangers were the Rangers were the Rangers. The power play was 0-5 and if they managed two shots over that time, that was a lot. The one time they put a body in front of the net and got the puck there, they scored. Well, the one time they put a body in front of the Montreal net they scored. They piled the bodies in front of Hank and it resulted in both real Canadien goals (the third was an empty netter).
The highlight of my night was Brendan Shanahan saying "hey guys" to my buddy and I as we walked past him heading out. Now I am a big fan of Shanny's and all, but when the highlight of a night at Madison Square Garden is someone saying hello to you in passing, that's one pretty awful evening.
Just a few notes, because I can't palate much more:
*The Blueshirts wasted an incredible performance from Henrik Lundqvist, much like they have been wasting his performances for the last three seasons. To quote Slap Shot, "trade me right fucking now!"
*Did the first line play tonight? Wasn't sure. Didn't notice Gabby much, saw Vinny Prospal serving a pair of penalties and Olli Jokinen hit a short-side post but that was about it.
*According to CapGeek, Arty Anisimov is indeed on a two-way contract. Perhaps Glen Sather doesn't realize that, keeping the kid in the lineup. His continued presence would be fine if this team was rebuilding and not attempting to make the playoffs. But this team isn't and Arty has rarely been an asset this season. He has 21 points and has had a few moments but the only time he looked like he truly belonged was in preseason with those two highlight-reel goals. He can't win faceoffs, he gets pushed off the puck easily, he skates around cluelessly at least half the time and he has no chemistry with anyone on the team outside of the oft-scratched Enver Lisin. On this evening he stumbled around and had a goal go in off of him and took a bad penalty. The goal was embarrassing; the replay just now on NHL On The Fly seemed to show Arty shoving MDZ out of the way just to kick the puck past Hank. Unreal.
*Knowing they needed the points, Boston fired 37 shots on net in their 5-2 win over Carolina. The Rangers took 20 on Jaro Halak. Jody Shelley had two, Marian Gaborik had one and Ryan Callahan had none. What is wrong with that picture?
*After scoring on Sunday, Michal Rozsival went right back to being terrible. He missed an open shot wide and completely blew a centering pass to him while in the slot. And he sucks at defense too.
*Did anyone get a good view of what happened with Sean Avery at the end of the game to warrant 17 minutes in penalties? I have yet to see any Youtubes and On The Fly didn't include it in their highlight. I saw Avery and Gomez come together, then Hal Gill launch himself at Avery before everyone else rushed in and grabbed a partner to slow dance with. Avery got two for cross checking, five for slashing (?!?) and a gamer. Did he hit Gomez in the head with his stick McSorley-on-Brashear style? Gomez got a rough while Gill got off unpenalized. I don't get it.
*There were a lot of Montreal fans in the building, but few that were actually French Canadian. Weird and annoying.
*And that is it for me on this one. At least we get to see John Davidson return to the Garden on Thursday ...
*PHW Three Stars
3-Sergei Kostitsyn - one goal.
2-Henrik Lundqvist - 32 saves.
1-Glen Metropolit - one goal.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Avery - The only Ranger who looked the least bit interested in winning.
2-Hank - Hard to say if Hank was concentrating on winning or just surviving as he was under siege as usual.
1-MexiCan't - Yep, Scott Gomez. Gomez controlled the pace and style of play all night and no one did anything about it. Yes, this was one miserable match.