Wednesday, April 7, 2010
36-33-10: One Save & We're Done
The shock of Henrik Lundqvist being pulled in the second period tonight didn't quite rival that of Tretiak getting yanked in the Miracle game but it was close. Replacing your star goaltender in one of the most important - if not the most important - game(s) of the season certainly comes with an element of surprise. John Tortorella's bold move came after Hank gave up the third goal in what was to be a 5-2 Ranger loss to the Buffalo Sabres.
The King had allowed three goals on 16 shots but the Blueshirts were only behind by one when the hook came out. Hank was clearly upset and who could blame him? Two of the three goals against weren't his fault but were due to the half-assed efforts of the team in front of him. Torts pulling this act was a clear sign of the helplessness he feels at not being able to properly prepare and motivate his players. Let's hope that it was one of the LAST moves by a desperate man before he loses his job.
That being said, Hank's benching did provide a short boost but when Marian Gaborik was stopped by Ryan Miller (more on that later), all of the energy was gone and Miller's side smoothly closed out the victory. That is the difference between good teams and ours - when a good team goes down and/or misses a big chance, they still believe they can win and keep putting out the effort that it takes to pull that off. All of the mind games that Torts has pulled and all of the terrible results that they have brought about this season have helped sap that belief.
Even with the loss, the Rangers still have a far better record on the road then at home. In New York they are spoiled with their luxury homes, their luxury practice facility and us, the best fans in the NHL. We are also the stupidest, seeing as we keep paying for that luxury that clearly makes life too comfortable for them to play tough.
I would launch into my usual notes but really, there is another game tonight so here are some quick hits:
*Arty, Shelley and Prust was the best line again; that Arty had twice as many shots as Gabby pretty much says it all.
*Cally came back and was tough for a period or so before fading.
*MDZ still is not good in his own end. Not even close. But he is still a teenager so we will still let him off the hook (sorry Hobey, you are just a few years too old - stay in the press box like a good boy).
*Lindy Ruff is one helluva coach - look at the names on that roster and then look at the top of the Northeast Division, and it hasn't all been the Ryan Miller show.
*I called in the Peepin Foes that Drew Stafford would score. Rangers = slump busters.
*PHW Three Stars
3-Drew Stafford - one goal and one assist.
2-Steve Montador - two assists.
1-Tyler Ennis - one goal and two assists.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Tyler Myers - It should come down to Myers vs. Howard for the Calder this year. I give the edge to Howard but only because he is the last line of defense, Myers has Miller. But Miller is quite lucky to have the gargantuan kid in front of him.
2-Tyler Ennis - Great performance by the little guy. He was everything Corey Locke wasn't given the opportunity to be.
1-Miller - Marian Gaborik had the entire net to shoot on but he placed the shot right in the middle: a point right where Miller could move laterally across and get. Miller made it look impressive - he had overcommitted in the first place - but the point is that he made it. And that was the game.