Wednesday, March 31, 2010
34-32-10: First Period, What First Period?
Tuesday night's 4-3 Ranger victory over the Islanders was quite the rarity - not in that the Blueshirts won (3-2-1 this season) but that Henrik Lundqvist allowed two terrible goals and the team won.
Both tallies by Blake Comeau were softies and yet the Ranger offensive explosion of four goals was good enough to hold off the Islanders. There was no Sean Avery in the lineup but the Rangers still got in the head of Dwayne Roloson to rally from a 2-0 deficit. Rolo was bumped in the first period (actually his own teammate shoved Erik Christensen into him) and then again in the second by Vinny Prospal (who Rolo had hacked and slashed all shift before being tripped up heading towards the crease). Rolo lost his cool and then lost his angles, allowing two goals before the end of the frame.
For those of us rooting against a postseason for the Rangers, it was a perfect evening. As blog buddy NYR34 pointed out, we beat the Isles and still didn't grab any ground on eighth place as Atlanta and Boston both won.
Notes on this one from the Island:
*The Rangers were horrid in the first period, coming out completely flat. Then all of a sudden they showed up for the rest of the game. Wonder what, if anything, Torts said to wake them up ... somehow I doubt they heard me screaming "you are losing! To the Islanders!!!!" from the last row in the building.
*Congrats to Gabby for hitting the 40 goal mark. He scored the go-ahead goal late in the second period on a quick feed from Aaron Voros. The People's Champ threw the puck out to the slot and Gabby banged it home. The Slovak is so good sometimes, too bad the Rangers need him to be so good all the time.
*Prospal has been dogged in this space for his disappearing act this season and he will again tonight. After being a nonfactor for so long, wow he can unleash a wrister like he did to score the first Ranger goal of the game? It was gorgeous. And then the aforementioned creasework around Rolo in the second ... he can be a major factor so why isn't he?
*Richard Park seemed to win every faceoff he took and was out for most of the Ranger power play time. I miss Blair Betts.
*That being said, the Ranger PK was awesome killing 1:02 of a 5-on-3 just seconds after Vinny's goal. It was a massive kill and it gave the Blueshirts the chance they needed to come through to tie and pass the Isles later in the period.
*Just walking into the Mausoleum made me feel like I need a tetanus shot. What a decrepit dump.
*I hate that the Isles ripped off Philly and Anaheim by stealing Pennywise's Bro Hymn as a goal song. Great tune by a great band, soiled by the blue and orange.
*An Islander fan in front of me kept on saying how it was the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on the ice. As I replied, the Tigers were facing plenty of Wolf Pack pups. Anders Eriksson continued to play well on the blueline and really should be out there mentoring Matt Gilroy instead of replacing him (Wade Redden is a disaster). Corey Locke wasn't really given a chance to show off what he can do. He is a small playmaker and how can he make plays when paired with Chris Drury? Hopefully he gets another chance before getting sent back down. P.A. Parenteau may or may not have played himself back to Hartford. I caught him watching the play and not hustling on several occasions but, then again, he did have an assist and a good amount of ice time so he clearly has gained the trust of the brass - something poor Enver Lisin never really was able to.
*Hard to understand why there was a Ranger viewing party at Mulcaheys when there were still seats available at the Coliseum. I landed a pair upstairs game day no problem.
*Olli Jokinen's game-tying goal was hilarious. Kyle Okposo's stick just snapped. One second he had a whole hockey stick. Next second he didn't. It left the puck in the circle and Olli didn't hesitate, firing it past Rolo. Think Okposo will take a look at a better twig? He should get wood.
*Michal Rozsival wore the A again and set a wonderful example for his teammates with a terrible penalty. Rozy did end up with more ice time then anyone else but made a lot of questionable passes. No matter how many times Torts throws him over the boards, Rozy is still far from the player he was when Jagr was around (which isn't even saying that much).
*Was there anyone else praying for a bench clearing brawl when the players tangled at the end of the second period? Old time hockey!
*PHW Three Stars
3-Blake Comeau - two goals.
2-Vaclav Prospal - one goal and one assist.
1-Olli Jokinen - one goal and one assist.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Gabby - 40 is a fantastic achievement on this team.
2-Marc Staal - Another huge defensive game by the team's best blueliner and he finally netted himself a goal. Maybe it is because he actually got it on net rather than a foot or two wide but whatever, he scored! Go Staalsie!
1-Prospal - He lurked around the crease and skated through every shift. He is one of the Rangers who personifies the whole lack of consistency that has hurt the team so much this season. But on this night, he was fantastic.