Friday, March 26, 2010
33-32-9: What Is There To Say?
After losing to Boston on Sunday it seemed we could finally put the toe tag on the 2009-2010 season. And it was none too soon as the team racked up disappointing loss after disappointing loss and the prospect of drafting a good prospect was so much more appealing than the prospect of a first round playoff spanking.
Well, don't bother doing your mock drafts just yet. Between the Flyers and Bruins doing their best to fall out of playoff position and the Rangers beating both metro-area rivals, there is still life in the season. For better or worse.
The Blueshirts followed up their 5-0 win over the Isles on Wednesday with a highly unlikely 4-3 shootout win over the Devils this evening. The four points moved them within three of Boston, who have a game in hand but lost to Tampa tonight. At this point, I am just throwing my hands in the air and riding the tide to the second week of April. I wanted the Rangers to win games, they lost them. I wanted them to lose games (for their own good), they won them. But of course, when I wanted them to lose tonight I still found myself pissed off when Jersey opened the scoring in the first period.
Guess the head and heart don't always agree, huh?
One thing is for certain: we are headed for a heartbreak, either in coming so close to the playoffs and not making it (and giving up a chance at the draft lotto) or in making the playoffs and getting crushed in the first round.
Whatever, just riiiiide the tide and deal with the final destination when we wash up on the shore. Notes on tonight; all photos taken off of Getty's site, and thus the watermarks. Yahoo! had just one up from the game at time of posting:
*First off, best wishes to Ryan Callahan for a quick recovery. It looked like he tweaked his knee falling on the endboards and he didn't play a second of the third period. Cally is all but certain to repeat as the Steve McDonald extra effort winner and it is sad to see the one guy who plays every night put on the shelf by a freak fall.
*Chris Drury's goal in the final seconds was so remarkable. Gotta give credit where credit is due - he actually won an important faceoff, MDZ not only kept the puck in but fed it down the boards. Christy made a cute pass to someone on his own team. And that someone was Drury, who jammed it through Fatso's fivehole. Quick, Dru, buy a lotto ticket! Oh wait, you cashed one in when Sather gave you that deal. Going through old game stats, this was the second time he has actually been 'Captain Clutch' - last year he had an OT goal against Chicago. The year before, he didn't have the C and had an OT goal against Pittsburgh as well as a goal with seven seconds left against Edmonton to force OT. Well worth that deal Slats gave him, don't you think?
*Sean Avery had another Sean Avery game and it paid off again. Let's see if he can manage the same kind of ... enthusiasm ... against a non-rival like Toronto. It is his home town and the media there loathes him so he will have that going for him.
*The Leafs will have Colton Orr and Jody Shelley got in a warm-up bout by taking on Andrew Peters. Shelley seemed to work the jab well but couldn't buckle Peters with his big punches and Peters took him out with a great late right.
*The loss didn't seem to temper his spirits and Shelley combined with Brandon Prust to provide confidence for Arty Anisimov. Apparently the soft Soviet needs a pair of bodyguards to play at a NHL level but whatever the reason, the goal Arty scored was a beaut. He collected the puck, outwaited Mmmmaaaaarrrttttyyyy and snapped home a perfect wrister.
*Erik Christensen had a perfect shot as well for the lone goal in the shootout. Between that and his feed to Dru on the game-tying goal, Christy should have taken Vinny Prospal out of the equation come crunch time going forward. Torts went with Vaclav in overtime alongside Arty but hopefully he won't be so loyal next time and ride the hot hand instead of the familiar one.
*During the game I was working on a piece for a big-name blog (one I will leave nameless until they use it) about how I found Brandon Dubinsky to be the most frustrating Ranger this season. I will post a link when it gets posted or put it up here if not so you can read my rationalization. Regardless, Dubi came up with a good game at the Rock and got a goal for his efforts (and those of Sean Avery). He played a smart, simple game and got the puck at the net - the basic recipe for success in the NHL.
*Ladies, if your boyfriend or fiance get you tickets in the first row of an arena behind one of the team benches where the camera shoots, it might be wise not to wear a skirt.
*Perhaps it is a spring thing for Olli Jokinen now to come to a new team, make a nice first impression and then do his best to prove it wrong the rest of the way. We should have heeded the warnings from the Flames fans ...
*Amazing how the puck bounces. Rozy skates for over a half hour, gives up several huge scoring chances to the Devils and comes out of the game +2. Dan Girardi is out there for 26 solid minutes against Jersey's finest and leaves the Rock -2. Plus/minus is an illusion folks; Marek Malik looked like a capable blueliner on paper. Rozy was bailed out more than once by his partner, Marc Staal.
*Staal, like Girardi, logged some tough minutes in this one. As he did against the Islanders, Staalsie played to his strengths and looked like the player he was last year, rather than the sad shadow of himself that skated around earlier this season - lost under Tort's tutelage.
*PHW Three Stars
3-Patrik Elias - one goal and one assist.
2-Jamie Langenbrunner - one goal.
1-Chris Drury - one goal.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Elias - Like Langenbrunner, Hepatitis steps up his play against the Rangers. If not for a masterful glove save by Hank, he would have tied the shootout.
2-Hank - And Hank did make that save, along with two others in the shootout and 35 over the rest of the game. He should have had Langenbrunner's goal (off the bad line change and Wade Redden ambivolence) but he made a half dozen huge stops that kept the Rangers alive.
1-Christensen - Cast aside from Anaheim, Christy was big yet again for the Blueshirts. His success in the faceoff circle throughout the night put him on the ice as a safety net for that final draw. If Dru was tossed from the circle, Christy could have taken the faceoff. Dru wasn't but Christy still made his presence pay off with the feed for the clutch goal. And to have the nerve to go short side on Mmmmaaarrrtttyyyy in the shootout? First star stuff.