Sunday, March 28, 2010
33-32-10: The Rangers Return
After surprising the faithful with a pair of wins midweek, the Rangers we know and loathe returned to blow a two-goal lead and lose to the Maple Leafs 3-2 on Saturday night.
Whew, I was starting to believe in the Blueshirts again.
That belief was thoroughly dashed as the Rangers blew chance after chance to build upon their lead and let the limp Leafs get back into the game. Wow, does that sound familiar or what? At least it will be all over soon, right?
*The difference between the Devil game and this one? Chris Drury won the faceoff when it counted in New Jersey. He won that one and went on to score to force OT against the Devils; he lost the defensive zone draw in overtime that led to the game-winner.
*John Tortorella decided to scratch Hobey Gilroy for this game in lieu of Wade Redden - who also has had a tough time of late (to say the least). It is not the first time he decided to scratch a youngster at the expense of a vet. Because that vet was good ole Wade, Torts thought it would be wise to put his offensive prowess on the ice for the four-on-four overtime. And Redden promptly pinned Hank's right leg, sending the goaltender on his back and allowing Kulemin to score. Shocking.
*Anders Eriksson, Gilroy's replacement, was not bad. He saw a good amount of ice time and handled himself well. He should remain in the lineup - at Wade's expense - for the next game (rest of the season).
*P.A. Parenteau, Ryan Callahan's sub, was also pretty good ... he did score a goal after all. That goal, by the way, came thanks to him, and only him. If you watch the replay, you can see that Olli Jokinen actually loses the puck in traffic - he doesn't pass it. Olli still stinks and, as I tweeted, the tight iso of his face by MSG will haunt my dreams for a while.
*The blown breakaway will probably haunt Erik Christensen for a while. I don't buy into the MSG line that Beauchemin threw Christy off on that - I think he just waited too long. That being said, at least he got the chance and he did get an assist on Dubi's goal. Where was Marian Gaborik and Vinny Prospal?
*Prospal was tagged with a boarding call on the dive by Dion Phaneuf. Phaneuf saw Vinny, backhanded the puck away, put his head down and let himself get bumped from behind. Sloppy Seconds yet again followed in Avery's ... path ... and sold the play like he was going for Oscar gold.
*Avery was having himself a solid game before his skate caught in a rut as he was chasing the puck and seemingly blew out his knee. Just what we needed; can the season please end before Hank gets hurt?
*Hank can't be faulted for two of the three goals against. On the first Toronto tally both Dubi and Christy blew the backcheck to allow Johnny Mitchell to get the one-timer from the slot. The second goal was a typical softy by the Swede, with him giving up the short-side post. And like I mentioned, Redden was the main reason for the game-winner. But a team should be able to survive one goal a game. A team that is better than the Rangers I guess.
*Hank's counterpart, Jonas Gustavsson, really does deserve some credit for his outstanding performance. Toronto has one heckuva talent on their hands with the Monster and once Komisarek gets back next season, they will have a rock-solid back end.
*Jody Shelley earned a few good chances thanks to his hard work and his very presence gave Arty confidence yet again. Sadly the kid couldn't convert like last game. But his play was still a improvement over where he was just a week back.
*Former fourth liner Freddie Sjostrom had a Freddie Sjostrom game with good speed and lotsa blocked shots. Colton Orr tried to pick a fight early but essentially disappeared after Jody refused the offer to dance.
*Interesting stat of the night: Tyler Bozak was on the ice for both Ranger goals against and no goals for ... and yet he dominated at the dot, going 14-6 in faceoffs.
*Marc Staal was awesome, showing Luke Schenn the player he can grow into. Dan Girardi wasn't as bad as his -3 would indicate and Michal Rozsival, yes, Michal Rozsival was pretty solid. I am as surprised as you are.
*Further proving that my luck blows, I dropped Tomas Kaberle yesterday from my fantasy team. Kaberle had one point in 13 games since the Olympics, an assist, and was -8 over that span. Tonight? One goal, one assist and +3. Sorry everyone, my bad.
*PHW Three Stars
3-Henrik Lundqvist - 29 saves.
2-Jonas Gustavsson - 36 saves.
1-Nikolai Kulemin - one goal and one assist.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Gustavsson - Is the Monster the next King? Certainly shows some of the same signs.
2-Kulemin - Who is this kid, where did he come from and why isn't Enver Lisin as good as him?
1-Mikhail Grabovski - Made a great play on the Mitchell goal and won the faceoff in overtime.