Thursday, February 2, 2012

32-12-5: Points Are Points

The Rangers edged out the Sabres in the fifth round of a shootout on Wednesday night for a 1-0 win in Buffalo. It was the second straight shootout for the Blueshirts and their second straight disappointing effort.

The biggest difference between the game against the Devils and the one against the Sabres was the goaltending. Instead of having sieves on either side of the ice, there was one former and one future Vezina winner. Ryan Miller and Henrik Lundqvist held their ground unlike the two Martys and both skated away with shutouts.

The first place team in the East faced the 14th and the first place side needed a breakaway contest to earn the W. It would really be sad if it was not foreseeable. This Ranger team has worked their way to the top of the conference with tough, lunch-pail hockey. But when the opposition has brought their hard hats to the job site, well all bets are off. In games like those the top end talent needs to shine and just one of the New York stars came through - Lundqvist. The rest of the high priced city socialites need to do some soulsearching soon because it is only getting tougher from here.

Late Hits:

*The Ranger specialty teams are so good they kill their own penalties and those of the other team too. They took care of seven in all on this night, five of their own and two of Buffalo's. The Blueshirts have to be more disciplined and they absolutely have to learn to score when up a man - this is getting ridiculous.

*Brad Richard$ saw as much ice time as Brian Boyle ... I don't think I need to point out what travesty that that is. Sure plenty of it had to do with all of the penalty killing time but still, the former Conn Smythe winner has to earn more minutes than the biggest waste of size since Willie Huber.

*Boyle did have one good moment: when he shoved Patrick Kaleta. Kaleta embodies the NHL's need to eliminate the instigator penalty. A weasel like that who tries to injure other players should be put in his place, instead of being allowed to keep his gloves on and jaw away. At least Avery would throw down on occasion ...

*Del Zastrous. A step behind in his own end. Pinched too much. Panicked and threw the puck over the glass. Somehow missed the net on a breakaway with a shot five feet from the cage. Simply Del Zastrous.

*And yet he won't taste the lash that continually bites poor Stu Bickel. Bickel is constantly been abused by the coach, a favoured whipping boy now that Avery has been banished. Sean at least deserved it at times, Bickel was playing in the ECHL not too long ago and hustles his ass off every one of his all-too-rare shifts. Torts has to either learn to live with the gaffes or bench him because status quo right now is a waste. Of course the kid will make mistakes, he jumps on the ice cold and knows his continued employment hinges on his every action.

*Had no idea that Arty even dressed for this game, much less played 16 minutes. Ever since the sniper incident he has been awful, perhaps a trip to Hartford could be enough to re-ignite his game.

*The Sabres Zack Kassian is going to be a beast in this league if Buffalo doesn't ruin him. Size, power and decent hands? Nice combo right there.

*Seven games without a point for Brandon Dubinsky, in case you were wondering.

*Had hoped that the All Star break would help Marc Staal further his recovery but two games back and he still looks like an entirely different player than the one that ended last season. No way they shut him back down but there is definitely something still wrong.

*There is more worth ranting about but it is late and, frankly, the Rangers still escaped the back-to-back with three out of four points. The guys need to get their acts together if they are to compete come April but for now, points are points - no matter how hideously they are earned.

*PHW Three Stars
3-Ryan Callahan - shootout winning goal.
2-Ryan Miller - 29 saves.
1-Henrik Lundqvist - 34 saves.

Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Cally - Of course the Captain is going to play well with his grandma around ...
2-Miller - After a performance such as this it is hard to imagine the many Buffalo fans who were calling for him to be traded not too long ago.
1-Hank - Your goaltender is your best penalty killer and the King stood tall while his teammates were forced to sit down time and time again.


Pete said...

I use to think it was just Sean Avery, but I am beginning to believe that Mike Milbury just has a problem with the Rangers. Before the game, while he and Pierre were discussing MVP candidates this year, he said, flat out, the Gino Malkin deserves it, hands down. When Pierre tried to say that, while #71 might be the most deserving shooter, there were a few goaltenders that were also deserving, Milbury just cut him off and said only Malkin was deserving of the nod. Now, maybe Milbury is just a bad commentator, and had no idea Pierre was trying to work in a conversation about Lundqvist, one such MVP worthy goaltender, who just happened to be on the game they were about to broadcast. Or maybe Mike is still holding some anger from his Bruins/Islanders days. Only one thing is for certain: he's an epic douche.

Brother P said...

Would be nice if Richards removed his head from his ass started playing hockey again! 8 points in the last 22 games is not getting the job done!

Puck Central said...

Scotty - if we were to send AA down would he have to clear waivers? I'm assuming not. BTW there's no way he'd clear if he did have to

Sammael said...

This team's powerplay is atrocious. They all just stand around and pass. They are missing the point that the whole reason for puck movement is to get the defenders out of position and pull them in a way to make an advantage on a part of the ice, then get the puck there and do something before the advantage is gone.

I can't take it any more. It is pretty bad when my gf states that the Rangers PP "is so boring... and slow."

This will be our undoing this season. Mark my words.

Scotty Hockey said...

PC - I think he would have to go through waivers, but if he was sent down on a 'conditioning assignment' like Wolski, EC and Woywitka ...

Pete said...

Does anyone here expect anything to happen of note before the trade deadline? Just curious what everyone else expects. I say Slats smells a cup and makes a big trade, though I have no idea whatsoever what that would entail.

Pete said...

Think we could get Rick Nash and Fedor Tyutin for Anisimov, MDZ, and a draft pick? ;)