Friday, January 6, 2012
25-9-4: Finishing Up With Florida
The old adage is that it "isn't how you start but how you finish." On Thursday night it held true as the Rangers survived yet another lackluster opening to come back and beat the Florida Panthers 3-2 in overtime.
It was quite nice to collect the team's eighth win in the last nine games but "isn't how you start but how you finish." It was the fourth and final match against Florida, and the Rangers third win. The Blueshirts still have five games against the Penguins, four against the Bruins and two against the Blackhawks left in their schedule and you'd better believe that those teams are on a different level than the piecemeal Panthers. They aren't going to relinquish their leads like the kitty cats did on this day. (Yes, I know Chicago blew two one-goal advantages against Philadelphia tonight but it was Ray Emery returning to Philly, he is 6-1 career vs. the Rangers.)
If the Blueshirts can combine their resolve to never say die with a good jump at the outset, then perhaps in June we won't be reminiscing about the team's good start but celebrating it's Stanley Cup finish.
Just a few Late Hits as the team plays the Pens in a few hours:
*Anyone else get reeeeaal nervous when Carl Hagelin went down? The kid looked like cracked a collar bone or something. And yet he bounced right back. Swedish engineering, bork bork bork.
*Arty did not put together a particularly good game. It was his sixth straight pointless performance and he was all over the ice. A bad stick-check set Florida off on the two-on-one break that resulted in the game-opening goal and things did not get much better.
*Actually liked Mike F-ing Rupp standing atop the crease on the power play. That being said, after scoring the two in Philly, he blew a gimme of a goal in the first. It would have been interesting to see how he fared against Barch.
*Happy to see Anton Stralman collect his first goal as a Ranger but he gave it back by letting Santorelli step right past him five minutes into the third. But at least he tried to get his stick on him to make up for being caught flatfooted, Del Zaster was lost in no man's land - giving the guy room and time to shoot.
*Sure that goal should have been stopped by Biron but it is further evidence that Del Zaster doesn't know how to play his position. Another Panther was sliding behind him and he just got stuck in the middle. Perhaps it was evidence of uncertainty in his own end, a lack of determination in decision making or something. The kid has to learn not to get caught like that.
*It was a bit like what happened to Florida in overtime. Step cut through to disrupt their defense, making room for Gabby to get off his game-winning shot. The Panther defenders were sliding backwards, allowing the Slovakian sniper to move into a good position to beat Clemmensen.
*Marc Staal got caught as the lone man back on the two on one and he looked like a squirrel trying to cross a road. He still has a ways to go to get back his game form.
*The Rangers were credited with 50 hits. They were wonderfully aggressive at times but 50 hits? Really?
*Neither Dubi nor Prust scored but both had quite solid games.
*Sam Rosen said that Boston went ahead of Calgary 9-0. Joe Micheletti replied that the Bruins should go for the extra point. Sam had to tapdance and say that the B's hit a field goal early in the game. Good to see that Joe knows about as much about football as he does hockey.
*PHW Three Stars
3-Scott Clemmensen - 38 saves.
2-Brad Richards - one assist. (Really? He won 10 of 22 faceoffs and his assist was a soft shot that deflected in off of Cally's leg.)
1-Marian Gaborik - one goal.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Fedotenko - It was the Ukranian's forecheck that got Stralman the puck for his first NYR goal. After many a game of uselessness, this one one of Feds' better nights this year.
2-Mikael Samuelsson - The former Ranger was a consistent threat. He is like Radek Dvorak (now on Dallas), a guy who made a career of being a semi-regular contributor while being defensively competent.
1-Cally - As mentioned above, Richards got his assist when the puck went off of Callahan's leg and went in. You know how it did that? The captain was paying the price to stand in the slot; he leads by example.