And we thought that Chris Drury's goal against the Rangers with 7.7 seconds left back in '07 was clutch timing. Imagine scoring a game-winning goal with 0.5 left on the clock - well, we don't have to imagine it because Ryan McDonagh did it in Calgary. While tonight's 3-2 win over the Flames certainly lacked the import and emotion of a playoff game, it was a remarkable ending just the same.
The hour is quite advanced so I will leap right into the Late Hits:
*Brandon Prust scored against his old team. And he did it shorthanded. How awesome was that? While we sit back and keep celebrating the acquisition of McD, we need to sit up and rejoice that Calgary tossed Prust in the Jokinen deal. Everything comes back to Bob Gainey - if he didn't send Higgins (and McD and Valentenko) to the Rangers for Gomez then they couldn't have sent Higgins to Calgary for Jokinen (and Prust).
*Tim Erixon deserves some serious credit. The kid, who is already playing above his station, had himself a great game. He didn't make it onto the scoresheet but he played 18 minutes while hearing booing from the Saddledome crowd every time he touched the puck. I truly hope that he can keep it up and the Rangers keep him up on Broadway whenever Sauer and Staal return.
*Ship Michael Del Zaster straight down to Greenville. Skip right over the AHL and send him straight to the E. As Craig Rivet recently explained about ECHLers, "They're missing something, something small. They can skate, they can shoot and they can pass. They're just missing a little bit of the game [mentally] and body positioning." Sounds like MDZ to me.
*Don't look now but the Rangers are sorely missing secondary scoring. We were so used to having secondary and missing primary the last few years that there has yet to be any grumbles about the fact that Richards and Gaborik are the only ones racking up points. Arty, Dubi, Cally, Boyle and Step combined have two goals in 25 games. It not for lack of effort - to be sure - but 64 minutes and 59.5 seconds without a regular strength goal against a inexperienced backup goaltender is slightly disconcerting. It is still early though ...
*Why does it always seem like Cally is skating into the opponent's zone one-on-three?
*Do you think that Erik Christensen was upset that McD scored? The goal robbed Mr. Softie of his lone time to shine.
*Two fights in this one, Kris Newbury standing up for a teammate by taking on Cory Sarich and Mike Rupp trying to justify his paycheque by battling Tim Jackman. One is the kind of fighting that needs to stay in the game and the other is the kind that needs to be weened out. And the fact that Rupp lost makes it even worse. The lone positive is that with Rupp taking the senseless slug outs Prust is freed to be an actual hockey player.
*Steve Eminger quietly had his best game of the season as there were no cringe-worthy moments. I had thought about saying the same about Jeff Woywitka but good ole Redden took a stupid penalty late in the third period.
*Stay in the crease Hank, just stay in the crease.
*PHW Three Stars:
3-Mark Giordano - one goal.
2-Brian Boyle - one assist.
1-Jarome Iginla - one goal and one assist.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Dubi - He did everything but actually score. At some point the pucks will start going in, they have to.
2-Giordano - Strong at both ends of the ice, he showed why he is one of the most underrated defensemen in the NHL.
1-McD - Not only did he score with 0.5 seconds left but he did it after skating 26:24 - the third highest total in the game behind Dan Girardi and Jay Bouwmeester.