Friday, February 10, 2012
34-13-5: Beating The Bolts
Given the atrocity that was the Devils game on Tuesday, we should be pleased that the Rangers survived a scare against the 13th place team Thursday. The Blueshirts needed overtime to beat the Tampa Bay Lightning but beat them they did, edging out the Bolts 4-3 on a game-winner by Brad Richards.
It was a sloppy, uneven affair against one of the dregs of the SouthLeast Division but the Rangers managed to come out with two points so it is cause for celebration. And they scored a power play goal while doing it. Yippee-ki-yay, Mr. Falcon.
*Ryan Callahan is just amazing. After watching this team select captain after captain based on salary and popularity they have finally picked one for all the right reasons. And he is living up to every stitch around that letter.
*Cally's power play goal came from his willingness to work the slot. After Arty cycled out, Cally slid in and a lucky deflection of Del Zaster's poor shot put the puck in a good spot for Callahan to tip past Garon.
*Credit is given to Del Zaster for shooting it almost on net. Most every rush he is the second or third Ranger into the zone and he is trying to put pucks on net, granted he often misses by miles and sets up the opposition counterattack. He has to contribute on the attack because he is utterly, grossly, pathetically incompetent playing defense. The kid was directly responsible for two Tampa goals against, so - with his two assists - he gets to skate away with an even ledger for this one. DZ's level of defensive play has not improved one iota from when he debuted as a Ranger. He doesn't hit for possession, he stick checks too much, he goes to ground too often, he is beaten wide in footraces, he loses every battle along the wall, he is outmuscled and outmatched.
*Biron was beaten six times last night but luckily was bailed out by the bars behind him on three of those occasions. Perhaps we have just been spoiled with Hank's steady hands but Biron looked jumpy and unsettled most of the night. His defense blocked more shots than he did (16 to 14) and he still ended up a save percentage less than 90% - the fourth time he did so this season and the first of those that he escaped with a win.
*No sure if you follow on Twitter but I ripped the power play and seconds later the unit scored. I ripped Richard$ and seconds later Richard$ scored. This kind of thing has happened with startling regularity, both with Twitter and ranting at the Garden.
*Had many a rant about Brian Boyle just shooting the damned puck and on this night he did so. And it went in. Neato.
*Steve Eminger made his return and didn't have an appreciable impact either good or bad. He did see more ice time than Stu Bickel did in his previous 10 games so Torts was clearly happy to have him back. Once Steve gets his legs back, he should be able to spell Stralman as Del Zaster's partner and give some balance back to the blueline.
*Hope Feds is alright, didn't think Dominic Moore's hit was that egregious but the Ukrainian went down hard. Since his efforts will be very necessary in the playoffs, we have to hope he will be back by then.
*It is really awe inspiring when we see those rare, few moments of sheer ability from Arty Anisimov. His set up to Richard$ was fantastic. If only he could play with that kind of confidence all the time.
*PHW Three Stars
3-Ryan Callahan - one goal.
2-Brad Richards - one goal.
1-Brian Boyle - one goal.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-McD - Yet another stalwart defensive performance from McD.
2-Step - Did you see that goal? I mean, seriously, wow. Too bad he couldn't win a faceoff.
1-Cally - There is no price that he won't pay for this team to help it win.