Sunday, February 13, 2011
30-24-4: We May Get Out Of This Yet
There is nothing quite like being able to kick a rival when they are down and the Rangers did just that on Sunday, beating the Pens 5-3.
Pittsburgh was without the injured Crosby, Malkin, Letestu, Asham, Kunitz, Jeffrey and Tangradi, as well as the suspended Cooke and Godard. Friend of the blog Pete, who lives in Pennsylvania, came to the Garden for his first game this season and saw a good number of the guys that he has seen in Wilkes Barre this year (poor bastard). You feel some sympathy for him but not for the Penguins, as they may have been just what the doctor ordered for the struggling Blueshirts.
The Rangers were able to snap their skid against an AHL roster and did many good things that they hopefully will be able to build upon going forward. We should be pleased but should hold off on the celebration just yet - it is just like that great scene from Pulp Fiction (NSFW), the first phase of cleaning up the mess is done but there is still plenty of work to be done.
*The power play went a remarkable three-for-four. Now I, like you, would love to chalk it up to the absence of Michael Del Zotto but that is only part of the reason for the change of luck. The guys were willing to shoot, they smartly cycled and they set someone up in the paint. When you have Callahan and Dubinsky channeling their inner Graves, good things happen.
*A key to the win was the Rangers scoring a goal on their four minute double minor power play and their ability to kill the Penguins'. They desperately needed to kill that after Pittsburgh made it 5-3 on a power play goal - it is no coincidence that the Pens scored when Cally was in the box. As with Bettsy a few years back, you can't have an integral part of the kill committing a penalty.
*On that, the Blueshirts need to be more disciplined. Eight minutes of high sticking calls just shows sloppiness.
*Marian Gaborik now has eight assists in his last eight games. Most of those helpers came from rebounds of his shots that teammates were able to capitalize on. That's definitely nice, but at some point he needs to put some of those pucks in himself.
*Would be nice for Avery to capitalize on one of his chances too. The Grate One is battling but at some point he needs some points. Fifteen game goal drought, two assists in his last 10 games - for all of the work he does something needs to click.
*After raving about Ryan McDonagh's work against Atlanta, he was completely at fault on Nick Johnson's goal. McD was beat twice on the same play and the Pens capitalized. Credit to the kid for bouncing back. Steve Eminger was at fault for the first Pittsburgh goal and barely saw the ice the rest of the game - not at all in the third period.
*Priceless moment courtesy of the Garden staff: after the Rangers went down 2-0 they played Papa Roach's "Last Resort" - a song about suicide. Luckily the players ignored it, won a faceoff and scored immediately ... helping us fans back away from the ledge a bit.
*It is astounding how soft Arty Anisimov is. His ice-sight and timing gives him so many chances, can you imagine how good he would be if he was strong and confident? The goal did boost his confidence enough for him to try a Savardian spin-o-rama on the next play but that just seemed to be for comedic effect more than anything else.
*Mike Rupp has seen some success at the Garden but when a team is relying on him to center their first power play unit, well, there is a problem with that team. Pathetic.
*Just turned on the MSG broadcast and, shockingly, Micheletti was awful yet again. Yes I point it out every game and no I will not stop until someone jams a hockey sock down his throat and puts him out of our misery.
*Judging by the sheer number of Pittsburgh bandwagoners in the building today, next Sunday should see quite the invasion of orange idiots.
*Very nice of the Ferraro brothers to make a donation to the Garden of Dreams. It may have been their lone positive contribution on the Garden ice ever. Undersized but talented, the two of them just didn't have the smarts to find NHL success - a terrible lack of discipline doomed them both. I'll always remember a Larry Brooks rumour that the Rangers turned down a trade for Pavel Bure because Vancouver wanted the two of them.
*After the Heritage Classic the Rangers should hire Dan Craig to come in and make a new sheet of ice in the Garden. Of all of the unnecessary renovations going on, the replacing the pad should be paramount. And on the renovations, the Garden showed a video where Troutwig took a tour, showing the New York City views you get ... of the post office where the homeless sleep on summer nights. Gorgeous. Maybe you can see from the other side of the concourse the bedbugs inside the Hotel Penn! Woo hoo!
*PHW Three Stars
3-Brian Boyle - one goal.
2-Marc Staal - two assists.
1-Ryan Callahan - two goals and one assist.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Staal - Want to give some love to Girardi for his constant shot blocking but Staal edged him out in minutes and assists.
2-Torts - His timeout turned things around and his tweaks to the power play and benching of MDZ paid off. Credit due, credit given.
1-Cally - Seriously, let's do away with any formalities and put the C on his sweater already.