Saturday, April 9, 2011
44-33-5: All's Well That Ends Well?
Walking out of the Garden this afternoon all one could do is smile, shrug and wonder what if? What if the Rangers brought the same kind of effort that they did today to the games against Ottawa, Atlanta, the Isles or Atlanta? What if they brought that effort in mid January or early February? If they had perhaps we would be preparing to host Tampa instead of rooting for them tonight.
The Rangers did all they could - today - to make a pitch for the playoffs. They skated hard, were physical, were disciplined and weren't fancy. Their one span of mediocre play was in the third period and they actually scored on it thanks to a New Jersey defensive breakdown. Sure they headed into the locker room after the first period trailing 2-1 but that wasn't representative of their level of play. Then, instead of wilting after the late Devils goal, they picked themselves up and scored two minutes into the second to get it back. Outstanding. And saddening. How many times have they rolled over this year? Too many.
But there is plenty of time to be mournful over a lost season. For now let's celebrate this and tune in to tonight's Tampa game to see if the campaign can be saved. Perhaps the Bolts will put up a fight and tame the Canes. Perhaps.
*My mom came to the game and said, "Well isn't that nice for him? He scored his first goal!" And it was nice. In game No. 40 Ryan McDonagh scored goal No. 1 and it stood up as the game-winner. That has to be so exciting for him and it was delightful for everyone (outside of the Devils).
*Chris Drury scored. Unbelievable. Every time people ignore him he comes in and scores, and thus was given that Captain Clutch nickname. It was nice for him to finally be clutch for us.
*Guess that marks the end of Sean Avery's tenure as a Ranger. But maybe not. Despite a loud contingent of Norwegian fans chanting his name, Mats Zuccarello barely saw the ice. Zuke still had a few hits and collected an assist but should there be a postseason the kid might be best watching from the press box.
*Nice of Wolski to finally snap his goal drought. It had been 17 games since he had scored and he lobbed a wrister past Brodeur. Had it been a Ring-Ding you know Mmmmmaaaaarrrttttyyy woulda had it but instead it sailed right past him. A horrible goal that the future Hall Of Famer would never have allowed a few years back.
*Funny to see Mmmmmaaaaarrrttttyyy get a little hurt making a save in the second period. But I bet it hurt less than his alimony payments. Oh! Zing!
*Inside the first two minutes Brandon Prust tried to start a fight with David Clarkson and the minor leaguer declined the dance. The Rangers are 4-0 when he fights that early. Clarkson skates away and seconds later New Jersey scored on Kovalchuk's deflected shot. Admittedly figured the game was over, delighted that it wasn't.
*Yay Prust scored! Too bad Fedotenko couldn't also convert because these two soldiers have battled all season long and deserve to be rewarded.
*Brian Boyle backed up his pregame big words with some of his most physical play in months. A player his size has to use his power more often.
*Gaborik may be a soft, one-way player but he is apparently still one that other teams somehow fear. The Slovakian Slacker didn't score in his previous eight games but drew two defenders to him, giving McDonagh room to get off his shot.
*Another year, no Blueshirts off our Backs for me. *sniffles*
*There is surely more worth discussing but let's face it, if Tampa loses it is all moot. So, as we cheered in the Garden, Let's Go Lightning! clap, clap, clapclapclap. Let's Go Lightning! clap, clap, clapclapclap. Let's Go Lightning! clap, clap, clapclapclap.
*PHW Three Stars
3-Vinny Prospal - one goal and one assist.
2-Chris Drury - one goal.
1-Ryan McDonagh - one goal.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Brandon Dubinsky - Dubi only ended up with one assist but he played like a man possessed. He had his best performance in a while, laying hit after hit, battling for pucks all over the ice.
2-Drury - C'mon, seriously, did anyone expect him to score? Anyone?
1-McDonagh - Alongside Mike Sauer McD was rock solid yet again and he scored his first NHL goal. How nice for him.