Saturday, November 12, 2011
9-3-3: Friday Fun
The Rangers kept on rolling on Friday night with their sixth win in a row, a 5-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes. Even though this was the fifth straight win on Garden ice, it probably was the most feel-good of them all. Fan favourite Sean Avery scored, Brandon Dubinsky got off the snide and military members were honoured around the arena.
Was it perfect? Absolutely not. The Rangers were good the first 20 minutes, poor the next 30 and terrific the last 10. Tortorella simply can not get his guys to play a full 60 for the life of him. And that back-and-forth effort came against a Carolina squad that was far less fearsome than the hurricane-that-wasn't this summer Irene. The Canes were not a good team. But, that being said, we should be heartened that the Blueshirts didn't play down to their opponents ... in the end.
*Sean Avery should not take faceoffs. But he should keep doing everything else he did. Having family members in the audience paid off as Avery put together a heck of a game: he scored a goal, drew a pair of penalties and forced Tortorella to play him more than five minutes alongside players with actual skill and ability. Avery's goal was terrific - he read the clearing pass off the boards perfectly before showing his incredible breakaway speed to beat the defender. Once he had the puck there was no pulling up, no dumping and changing - he just went right at Cam Ward and snapped the puck under the crossbar. It was beautiful. And man, did the Garden go wild. It was delightful.
*Brandon Dubinsky delighted in his goal, with a very Vinny Prospal-esque celebration. The goal was just good fortune as Ward kicked the rebound from Ryan Callahan's shot right into the slot. But hey, a gimmie goal is still a goal and hopefully it will be enough to get Dubi going again.
*I've seen Carolina a good number of times in the last few years and I've never seen Cam Ward implode like he did in the third, allowing three goals in three minutes before gifting Richard$ one of the easiest goals of his entire career.
*Probably the best Garden crowd to date this season, not that that is saying much.
*Joe Frazier got a better, longer commercial break obituary than Derek Boogaard did during the home opener. Boogaard only played for the Rangers.
*Really getting tired of watching Del Zaster. The kid is atrocious on the power play and is virtually incapable in his own zone. Late in the second period the Rangers had a power play that actually looked pretty good. And MDZ blew it - not only did he miss his trademark back-door attempt but his passing was poor to everyone except Tim Gleason.
*The GAS Line looked good again, even if the Canes were able to hold them off of the scoreboard. Arty needs to be more physical and use his size better.
*Speaking of a reluctance to be truculent, Brian Boyle is almost back to being the utterly ineffective player who the L.A. Kings gave up on. He picked up a second assist on the Dubi goal but that had little to do with his work on the play. What he learned from his power skating lessons, the seeing eye shots from the circles, the faceoff ability are all gone. But most of all, I miss Brandon Prust.
*How did Hank miss Alexei Ponikarovsky's shot? The King was so good the rest of the night that allowing the former Leaf to slide a low shot past him was really surprising.
*If the fans didn't boo every time he touched the puck, you wouldn't have known that Eric Staal was playing.
*Anyone else have a bad feeling that the Islanders are going to end this nice ride on Tuesday?
*PHW Three Stars
3-Brandon Dubinsky - one goal and one assist.
2-Sean Avery - one goal.
1-Dan Girardi - one goal.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Avery - Sean edges out Dubi for the final spot because he played for just 10 minutes. He didn't get a single second on special teems
2-Hank - Soft goal by the former Leaf Poni aside, Lundqvist's play kept the Rangers in the game.
1-Girardi - That is future All Star Dan Girardi to you.