Sunday, April 3, 2011
42-32-5: Consistently Inconsistent
It is enough to send someone to rehab.
How the Blueshirts can drive us to thoughts of suicide on Thursday and then come back and beat the Bullies 3-2 on Sunday is simply astounding. But that is what they do, that is what they have done all season long. It has been one thing to have a few pops to celebrate wins or drink away the pain but this Ranger season has been bad on the belly and it's been getting worse.
This campaign is coming down to the wire - as expected - and no one knows what Ranger team will show up any given night. As the title says, they are consistently inconsistent. When they are more physical and block more shots than their opponents they often win. When they win more faceoffs they often lose the game. And yet they did all three in this victory over Philly and they won. Discombobulated yet? We are drunkenly stumbling around right now with last call coming up real quick. Are we heading to the afterparty with all the hotties or just home to pray to the porcelain god?
On one hand Sunday's victory deserves praise - if only in comparison to the recent losses. On the other hand, it is saddening because the Rangers needed a skills competition to edge out an exhausted Flyers squad that was missing its two biggest weapons. Well, whichever hand you go with, use the other to grab us some beers. We need 'em.
Just a few notes as the boys play again in a few hours:
*In case you didn't catch it, Brandon Prust fought Sean O'Donnell just 45 seconds into the game. Thirteen of Prust's 18 fights this season have come in the first period. Four of those 13 came in the first two minutes and, guess what? The Rangers won all four games. Now the question is this: is Prust sending a message to the opponent that the Rangers are not to be taken lightly or is he sending a message to the Rangers not to take the opponent lightly?
*It was mighty nice of Brian Boyle to stand up for Ruslan Fedotenko but it was just sad. First off, it came after a perfectly clean hit by Braydon Coburn and secondly, Boyle can't fight. How someone his size has so little strength and little ability to fight is astonishing.
*Marian Gaborik has a lot of ability - not to fight, but to score. So why isn't he? Gabby was perhaps the best Ranger forward within his own zone but dammit Braden, that isn't what you are being paid for. A six game goal drought is unacceptable right now. Hell, it is never acceptable when the guy is making seven mill a year but the timing of this makes it even worse. Gabby had just once good chance - a breakaway two and a half minutes in - but that was it.
*Back to Boyle for a second - the Flyers tied the game at two because of him. The broadcasters can blame Ryan McDonagh all they want but it wasn't his fault. McD blocked a shot and stumbled off the ice as Philly was making their rush. Boyle shoved him on his way and curled back, lining up as the left defenseman but he never picked up his man and Giroux found him - Zherdev.
*Watched the replay a few times, I'm not so sure that Staal broke his nose. But it's possible, and it would be quite impressive given he played more than half the game. Girardi played 32 minutes to Staal's 34 ... Torts is grinding these guys into the ground and has been doing so for months. How much could they possibly have left in the tank for a possible playoff series?
*Sean Avery, five minutes? Really? We are back to limiting his ice time like he is some goon who can't skate? Given how Philly had no problems attacking the Ranger crease, you would think Torts would use his weapon to get back at the Flyers ...
*Steve Eminger saw the wrath of Tortorella too after being on the ice for the Flyers first goal. Eminger couldn't physically match up with JvR and McCabe didn't bother to help him out.
*McCabe did score a goal, finally. And it was on a beauty of a slap shot, which was nice. But it was just his sixth point in 16 games wearing a New York sweater. All six came on the power play but, given all of the ice time he gets with the man advantage, that is not enough.
*I'm sure there is more but the puck drops in six hours so we will have a few more things to rant or rave about soon.
*PHW Three Stars
3-Ruslan Fedotenko - one goal.
2-Claude Giroux - two assists.
1-Erik Christensen - shootout goal.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Prust - Sure he ended up on the ice for both goals against but they weren't his fault. As stated above, his fights mean something and he took a few for the team in this one.
2-Fedotenko - All of his hard work finally resulted in a goal, thank goodness.
1-Giroux - To think that Philly was willing to trade this guy not too long ago. Mad skillz.