Wednesday, March 16, 2011
37-30-4: One Odd Evening
Tonight's Ranger game was completely atypical of the team that we have grown to know over the course of this season. Playing a young, hard-skating team the Rangers matched their opponent's effort. Coming off of a big, emotional win the Rangers didn't have a let-down. Drastically outshooting the opponent didn't result in the glorification of a mediocre goalkeeper. Getting a two-man advantage actually resulted in a goal. Dominating at the faceoff dot actually allowed them to control play. Wearing the Blue Shirts at the Garden wasn't a curse. Granted all of those atypical things happened against a hapless Islander team but still, it was quite the night on Broadway as the Rangers beat the Islanders 6-3.
If they can make the atypical typical by doing it again on Friday, then I will really be impressed. Big if.
*As Mr. X from the Blue Seats said to me, 'good effort, except for those first five minutes in the second period.'
*Decent showing of Islander fans but just one minor scrum in the crowd that I caught. The fans in general were a little bit louder than usual but the building really didn't have the emotion and animosity that it used to. This is definitely far, far away from the heyday of this rivalry. And there have been more Potvin Sucks whistles in random games against Western Conference teams than there were on this night, which is just pathetic. Loved the "Season's Over" chant late in the third though.
*Definitely understand those that have to run for a train or have work early the next day but this was yet another win that saw the final buzzer sound in a half-empty arena. Frankly it takes away from the joy of the moment.
*There have been few bigger Avery apologists out there than me and even I have to throw up my hands after this one. A perfect opportunity to do what he does so well and he goes out there with no control. Instead of a trained police dog being allowed off the leash to go after the bad guys, we had a rabid animal who turned and bit us in the hand. So disappointing.
*That being said, his boarding call came from Micheal Haley (who can't spell his own name right) intentionally turned towards the boards to wait for the puck. Avery didn't expect Haley to stand there in a vulnerable position and he finished his check (to which Haley milked the moment, exaggerating his "injury' in an attempt to draw a five minute major - didn't work).
*Yay Marian Gaborik scored two goals. Let's see him score when the team really needs him to. He had a perfectly good breakaway to open the scoring and he blew it. Once Cally put the Rangers back into the lead at 3-2, then Gabby was able to break through for a goal.
*Woulda loved if Ruslan Fedotenko's iron shot had gone in. Been loving his play the last few games and it would be nice to see him rewarded with a goal.
*Still have yet to figure out what Mike Sauer has against Matt Martin. Stupid kid shouldn't be fighting without cause. What happens if he breaks his hand on the other guy's face? Sauer's partner Ryan McDonagh was great for much of the evening, the first Isles goal aside. He went chasing after an Isle behind the net abandoning the slot and allowing Matt Moulson tipped home Jack Hillen's shot. A rare rookie mistake by the kid.
*Seeing how good those two have been and how solid a veteran pairing as McCabe and Eminger can be (at times), Torts should lessen the ice time for Staal and Girardi. They certainly appear to be overworked.
*Anyone else enjoy seeing Arty get angry in that third period scrum?
*PA Parenteau's goal was pretty.
*The Garden music was even more obnoxiously loud than it usually was, making it quite difficult to hold a conversation. Utterly infuriating.
*Larry stumbled down the stairs, too bad he didn't go over the railing so we can do without his idiotic dancing henceforth.
*Congrats to Bryan McCabe on scoring his first goal as a Ranger. It was spectacular - not by the means how it went in, but in that it came on a 5-on-3 power play. As mentioned above, usually you can immediately mark those two man advantages as wasted opportunities.
*Zenon Konopka skated just over 10 minutes for the Isles. Is there anyone out there that thinks Derek Boogaard, when finally healthy, will be able to come anywhere close to that?
*Brandon Prust = 2011 Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award winner. Well not yet, but if not, it will be a criminal oversight. Bum shoulder and all and he still put up a shorty and nearly added another if not for the iron.
*PHW Three Stars
3-Erik Christensen - one goal and one assist.
2-Ryan Callahan - one goal and one assist.
1-Marian Gaborik - two goals.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Gaborik - Gabby pulled a Boyle and just shot the damned puck. Good things happen when you do that, you know.
2-Christensen - Mr. Softie has nine points in his last seven games. Seriously. Colour me surprised.
1-Cally - Captain Callahan went to the net all night long and the Rangers were rewarded for the effort. He was the screen on the first Gaborik goal, the screen on the McCabe goal and he was swarming around the net to score the go-ahead goal.