Sunday, December 4, 2011
15-5-3: It's Electric
It is hard to figure out what is going on: are these Rangers so mentally or physically unprepared that they simply stumble out of the gates on a semi-regular basis? It is a dilemma to be sure but not one that is troubling when the results continue to be so good. The Rangers gave up an early goal yet again, but yet again they managed to rally and went on to beat the Lightning 4-2 on Saturday night.
That they are able to take the first strike and bounce back begs another question: are so confident that they know they will come back or are they too young/ignorant to know better? Either way they just keep on working and that is wonderful to see. For all of their faults - and there are several, don't let these wins fool you - lackadaisical play is not among of them. Finally.
*Pfft, 1-3-1 trap. When the Ranger forecheck worked as relentlessly as it did the vaunted trap was easily broken. And when the guys are willing to pay the price in front of the net, the goals will come. Who was it leading the charge, yet again? Captain Callahan. Love it.
*It is always nice to see a player score against his former team. Well, not so much when that former team is the Rangers - as evidenced by Tommy Pyatt's tally - but when that former team is the Rangers' opposition, hell, that is great. Brad Richard$ to Ruslan Fedotenko, beautiful.
*Sean Avery had better have been hurt because that is the only acceptable excuse for him not touching the ice in the third period. There was just one power play and one penalty kill so the situations didn't keep him off the ice - the coach or the trainer did. Avery has done everything asked of him by the clueless coach so other than grinding an ax, what excuse could Torts have had to bench him?
*Del Zaster played his most motivated game to date. His hustle was impressive, even if it was only for his own desire to not look bad in front of his best buddy Stamkos. Of course, his effort didn't help him as his blown check led the the first goal and he didn't score on either of his wide open point blank scoring chances. But for a second game in a row he didn't pass the puck directly to the opposition so he is finally making some progress. It is about time.
*Anisimov was as good as he has ever been. We have seen Arty play quite well in the past and each time it coincided with him finding chemistry with linemates that make room for him. Shelley and Prust, Cally and Dubi, now Step and Gabby - all guys that demand attention, albeit in different ways. Said it once, said it a thousand times: if Arty can find the confidence in himself he can be a helluva player, until then he is nothing more than complimentary.
*Tis the season so do you think Santa will let the Rangers take Anton Stralman back so they can get someone who can actually play? Because someone has to come in and take some shifts on defense. Eminger and Woywitka are awful and Girardi played more than 28 minutes for the ninth time this season. He has played less than 25 just twice. Have to appreciate his efforts and the results so far but to grind him into dust before Christmas could end up being quite costly when it counts. Just for comparison, Nicklas Lidstrom has yet to top 28 minutes and has played less than 25 16 times; Shea Weber has topped 28 three times and less than 25 six. Mike Sauer was probably the best of the Ranger defensemen and he played less than 20.
*Seen Stamkos? I didn't. It is a tribute to Sauer, Girardi and McDonagh that he and St. Louis and Malone were all but invisible.
*Still no indication that Carl Hagelin will ever need to return to the AHL.
*PHW Three Stars
3-Victor Hedman - no points.
2-Tom Pyatt - one goal.
1-Derek Stepan - one goal and one assist.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Cally - Callahan is living up to the letter, that is for sure.
2-Step - The kid has clearly gotten over his early season struggles and is starting to hit his stride. Fun to watch, eh?
1-Arty - Anisimov went to the net not once but twice in the same game. Remarkable.