Thursday, April 8, 2010
37-33-10: Well That Was ... Easy
They say that teams already eliminated from the playoff hunt are extra dangerous as their players have nothing to lose and are playing for a position on the team next season. Well, there was absolutely nothing dangerous about the Maple Leafs on Wednesday as they rolled over and took the 5-1 beating at the hands of the Rangers.
Erik Christensen opened the scoring just 21 seconds in, Colton Orr made a spectacle of himself by instigating a fight with Jody Shelley and Toronto spent the rest of the opening period on their heels. Once they went down 3-0, they all but gave up - which is good for the Rangers as they took their foot off the gas and fell asleep at the wheel, awakening only after Dion Phaneuf scored in the third period.
It was a boring bout for about 45 minutes but the excitement level was not what was important - the two points the Rangers pulled from it were. Back in December a good friend started selling off most of the rest of his season tickets, saying he would keep his Flyer tickets - just in case it would be an important game. I laughed at him, replying that we would be out of it long before the final two games. He would be laughing now if he, along with everyone else, wasn't at the edge of his seat praying the Blueshirts can pull it off. All I hoped for in this season was to either fly high or go down in flames but of course the Rangers have to skim the tree tops all the way, making for one insanely nerve racking ride.
*Hank doesn't allow any softies and the Rangers win. Coincidence? I think not.
*Christensen had a pair of goals in the first period and almost completed the hat trick in the second but alas, it was not to be. Christy was outstanding for a period and a half or so and could have had about five goals. Oh well.
*Michal Rozsival also came just short of grabbing a hat trick ... one of bad penalties. Rozy took two terrible minors, and he wonders why he gets booed, even when he gets goals or assists (he did have a nice feed for a second assist in this one, on Prospal's goal). Even our old friend Wade Redden had a better game than Rozy - and that is pathetic.
*Another game, another too many men on the ice penalty. Are the Rangers not the worst team in the NHL when it comes to changing likes or what?
*Mandatory Metal: Chris Drury had the post hit for the evening, late in the first period. The puck so clearly hit the iron that it was shocking that the officials decided to review the shot.
*Off topic: how pathetic is it that MSG Network keeps airing those ProFiles? I caught No. 2 Brian Leetch when I got home, which refers to 'someday when Brian gets his number raised to the rafters...' Ok, that someday was more than two years ago. Time to either update the program or chuck it. I know that MSG is cheap but even re-airing those Vaults 1,800 times is better because at least those are evergreen.
*While I am ripping on MSG, is there anyone out there that enjoys the guitar that attempts to play along with the organ? It's like nails on the chalkboard to me.
*Kept hearing all of those Potvin Sucks chants and am pretty curious as to what everyone has against old Felix?
*Speaking of chanting, it was fun to get in on the "Sloppy Seconds" jeer for Phaneuf but - as a friend pointed out to me - what took the Blue Seaters so long to start it? They waited until Dion scored before becoming emboldened.
*Brandon Prust had his three game goal streak broken but he did manage to get an assist on the "People's Champ" Aaron Voros' third period goal. Always love it when the grit guys get goals and Voros' was a beaut. Prust almost had one earlier on a breakaway but he had too much speed and was easily stopped by the Monster.
*Freddie Sjostrom is a great penalty killer, to be sure, but not so great the Rangers can use him as an excuse for their pathetic 0-for-4 total with the man advantage.
*Hope Dan Girardi was watching from the bench - he is good at watching, don'cha know - as Brandon Dubinsky jumped Jeff Finger after the Leaf d-man crushed Marian Gaborik on the boards. Perhaps Girardi learned something.
*PHW Three Stars
3-Henrik Lundqvist - 26 saves.
2-Vinny Prospal - one goal and one assist.
1-Erik Christensen - two goals.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Dubi - The kid collected a pair of assists and came to defend Gabby. It is sad that I have to recognize the kid for doing it but the team has left their star out there to dry too often this season.
2-Olli Jokinen - The freaky-looking Finn had one of his best games as a Ranger, collecting a goal and an assist. When he first came to NY he described himself as more of a shooter than a playmaker and he shot the puck a game-high eight times. If that is what it takes for him to contribute, then shoot away!
1-Christensen - I thought about taking it away from him because he didn't come out to wave to the crowd when he was named the PHW first star but his first period was too good to be denied.