Thursday, March 25, 2010
32-32-9: Beating The Isles Is Always Good
What a bittersweet victory. The Rangers beat the Islanders 5-0 on Wednesday night in the Garden and I can't think of a better way to describe it: bittersweet.
The sweet part comes from ...
... beating the Islanders. For some folks, like myself, there is nothing more gratifying outside of winning the Stanley Cup.
... the scoring-ly challenged Rangers posting a five-spot. Two games after needing a lucky bounce just to get on the scoreboard against a weakened team, they scored again and again and again and again and again.
... Henrik Lundvist posting a clean sheet. Not a single softie allowed by the King.
... winning at home. The Blueshirts have been dreadful on Broadway and had already allowed the Isles to come into the building and take two wins away.
... Brandon Prust fighting Trevor Gillies and not needing the boards to hold him up.
... the Islander fan in front of me getting up after the second period and leaving, feeling no hope and having no reason to stay.
Now, the bitter part stems from ...
... the team simply playing themselves farther down the draft board and keeping foolish post-season hopes alive.
... a two minute five-on-three where the Rangers couldn't score. Two full minutes of bad passing and ill-advised shots. Sure they scored right after with the man advantage but they
... three, four breakaways and a pair of posts. If the Rangers were a better team, they would have won 10-0, not 5-0. And 10-0 is an estimate that even takes into account Rolo's impressive performance.
... the motivation, energy and ability shown on the ice that hasn't been there for 95% of the games to date this season.
... outshooting the Isles 17-3 in the second period and having no goals to show for it.
If it was the spirit of the rivalry or the 'desperation' they claim to have that sparked this win, then the Rangers should be able to keep rolling over Fatso tomorrow. We'll just have to see.
Some random notes:
*The article I quoted from yesterday was blissfully wrong as the number of 3d camera locations were fewer and didn't block too many people.
*Of course, there weren't that many people in the Garden. Attendance peaked at maybe 17,000. Maybe. At the opening faceoff it was probably closer to 12, 13k and by the time the final buzzer sounded was around 10. I just read that there were around 2,500 folks at the 3d viewing; I wonder how many were given free tickets.
*Prust was one of the best Rangers on the ice. He isn't a pretty player or a particularly good fighter but the kid doesn't stop skating.
*What was more ridiculous: Tim Jackman's cage or Trevor Gillies' biker 'stache? Who does Jackman think he is? Stephane Robidas?
*As can be expected, my love for Sean Avery continues. I don't see how someone could be a Ranger fan and not love him. He is entertaining. That is what hockey is supposed to be, entertaining.
*On the flip side of the coin is Olli Jokinen. Jokinen was horrid for yet another night, missing chances, bumping into his own teammates and losing faceoff after faceoff. The best thing about him is that his salary will come off the books after the season. So he has that going for him.
*There are no redeeming factors for Jon Sim. I don't like that guy.
*If I didn't see Kyle Okposo's name in the box score, I wouldn't have believed you if you said he played.
*Brian Boyle was not missed. Boyle was bounced from the lineup for Enver Lisin, who continued to show he is a lesser version of Petr Prucha.
*Enver's bff Arty Anisimov scored a goal, getting a gift rebound that he converted with a nice wrister. His skills have never been in doubt in this space - it is everything else that has been questioned.
*Has there been a better waiver wire pick-up this season than Erik Christensen? Christy was cast-off from Anaheim and has been a solid top-six forward on this team - he nearly had a goal to go with his two assists but Rolo made a nice save on Christy's breakaway. I had thought he tipped home Girardi's shot on the power play to make it 5-0 but he hadn't - still, his screen gave the defenseman the goal.
*Oh, to the Islander fans out there: woooooooooooooo!!!!!!
*PHW Three Stars
3-Henrik Lundqvist - 27 saves.
2-Sean Avery - one assist.
1-Marian Gaborik - two goals and one assist.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Marc Staal - Sure it wasn't too hard containing the pop-gun Islander offense but Staal showed a good poise and moved the puck cleaner than he has in a while. He was stoned on a great scoring chance but grabbed an assist on the play thanks to Dubi getting the rebound over to Gabby to make it 2-0.
2-Gabby - Man, it woulda been nice to see him get a hat trick. So close. But he looked in his best form since his time with Slovakia so that is definitely a plus.
1-Avery - Did you expect anyone else? Sean managed to distract the entire Islander squad and drew several penalties. He did his job and he did it quite well.