Wednesday, December 15, 2010
19-13-1: Thanks Brent!
Sometimes I don't mind rewriting an article. I had a nice piece started about how the pendulum was bound to swing the other way after Sunday's success. Instead, that one has been dumped into the digital darkness and here is a recap of the laughable Blueshirts 4-1 win over the Penguins in Pittsburgh.
And it was laughable. In typical fashion the Rangers were completely dominated by the Penguins. But then something happened - they got a shot on net. Early in the game I tweeted that a traffic cone could have played goal for the Pens over the first two periods. After the third, the Pens probably wished they had a traffic cone in net rather than Brent Johnson. Johnson allowed four bad goals to give the game away. He was, simply said, horrendous. He was down on his knees too early, he overcommitted to shots, his angles were off and he gave up four goals in less than seven minutes, two in 15 seconds.
Now the question is how did they suddenly start taking advantage of his horrendousness? Was it the Pens just getting tired after playing on Tuesday? Was it Sean Avery showing the first sign of life with his fight against Arron Asham? Or was it just luck? I don't have an answer, but it did make me laugh seeing goal after goal go in from - as Jim from Blueshirt Banter corrected me - "the three worst Ranger forwards, and Boyle." It wasn't secondary scoring that did it, it was tertiary. Gotta love how in the photo up top even Boyle was shocked that Frolov scored.
It is nice to celebrate the win and the fact that the pucks keep going in for the Rangers but Ryan Callahan's shot block that broke his hand is awfully sobering. His absence from the lineup could (and likely will) be far more costly than the extended breaks taken by Gabby, Drury, Vinny and Boogey. Marty Straka, Drury and now Cally - the Blueshirts need to learn to block shots with other body parts.
A few notes before an early bedtime:
*The Penguins had the game tied at two but the tally was taken away after a ridiculous incidental contact call on Pascal Dupuis' eyebrows. Rozy backed him into Hank as Malkin scored but the officials waved off the goal. That they did it is a surprise, that they did it in Pittsburgh is a shock, that Rozy sucks is obvious. And his partner, MDZ, was made to look absolutely ridiculous on the play - the kid was lying on the ice waving his stick around as the Penguins skated right around him. MDZ continues to be completely atrocious; something needs to be done.
*As Ranger fans, we have to pray that there were some NHL scouts (Scouts?) in the crowd. They witnessed Alex Frolov scoring and setting up Boyle's goal, and thus his trade value is as high as it will ever be. Sather needs to deal him away right now before everyone realizes just how bad he has become. Funny how he gained a little confidence from the goal and went right back to his old ways with a wraparound that even Johnson was able to stop.
*The Ranger power play went 1-3, with the lone goal coming from Mr. Softie the Backstabber. That goal came off the rush, as have a very large percentage of the man advantage goals this season. The special team is simply not special when they set up in the opposing zone, if they can even set up in there or even get in there.
*As mentioned, Avery fought Asham. Why Asham would entertain Avery with a fight was stupid, and that he did not get his arm free to unload that big right was lucky for Avery. Nice work by Sean, even if he ended it with his signature cheap shots when they were already down on the ice.
*Chris Drury did all of his signature stuff: blocked shots, took faceoffs (went 4-1), skated hard and didn't come remotely close to scoring. Welcome back cap. Ugh. Eight million bucks this season. He needs to gain a bit of that scoring touch he had in Buffalo if he is to replace Cally's contributions.
*The game was on MSG 2. I mean, seriously? The most famous guy in the league against the Garden's top tenant and the game was not on either of their top two networks. Something wrong with that.
*Joe Micheletti just stop already. I'm not sure if I find him more loathsome than Matt Cooke and Max Talbot but it is close.
*As tweeted, Hank was bumped a few times and Boogaard was nowhere to be found. Boogey can't protect the King through the television. He just needs to make like Godzilla and sink back into the Pacific Ocean so we can get a enforcer who can actually play and contribute.
*PHW Three Stars
3-Henrik Lundqvist - 27 saves.
2-Brian Boyle - one goal and one assist.
1-Alex Frolov - one goal and one assist.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Hank - No soft goals. Hank stayed square to the shooter, kept his movements short and simple - leaving little opportunities for the Penguins to capitalize.
2-Marc Staal - His partner Dan Girardi would deserve a share of this star if not for a horrible play on the lone Pittsburgh goal. The two were solid, keeping Sidney out of scoring areas and limiting the space Malkin had to dangle (outside of that one time).
1-Johnson - Thanks Pens for starting your backup for the first time in over two weeks. Johnson, who has gone W-L-W-L-W-L now in his last six, frankly sucked. A netminder with some composure would have made at least one decent save in the third period.