Thursday, March 22, 2012
46-20-7: Cally Clips The Wings
Sure they didn't have their best defenseman in their line up. Sure they didn't have their leading goal scorer. Sure they didn't have their starting goaltender (or their backup). Details, details. On Wednesday night the Rangers still defeated Detroit, the team that - over the last 30, 35 years - has set the bar for sustained success in the NHL.
It feels nice.
It also shows that the ball is beginning to roll and it can pick up some good speed with the next five games against teams not in playoff positions. But that also makes them that more dangerous, and thus let's ignore them for this evening and focus on the 2-1 overtime win at the Garden.
It is a lovely result but all is not copacetic with either team. Ed. note: Yes I say either team; I am admittedly a Wings fan, they have been my second fav team since the bruise brothers years. The low numbers bely the many missed scoring chances by both sides, ones that both teams should be kicking themselves over. There were times when the intensity was lacking, there were times when sloppiness and mental mistakes proved costly. There is room for improvement, and improvement needs to occur before either side suits up for the playoffs.
Time is tight, so onto the Late Hits:
*There really is something special about Original Six matchups: the history, the sweaters ... even the atmosphere feels different.
*Was happy to hear that the octopus thrower was thrown out, because had he stayed he would have ended up in the hospital. Utterly unacceptable in our building.
*Mats Zuccarello was the best Ranger for about two periods. Zuke did everything asked of him and more, he just didn't score. Outstanding effort by the youngster. Liten mann, stor innsats. (Hope Google translate got that right ... small man, big effort.)
*On the other side of the coin, someone was simply Del Zastrous. DZ's simple cross to Cally in OT does not wipe away the rest of his horrendous play the rest of the night. Gross incompetence, which seems to be par for the course. Thankfully Hank bailed the boy out for the most egregious of his errors, one can only hope he does the right thing and treat the King to dinner.
*Nick Lidstrom and Chris Chelios were in the press box and signed autographs throughout the first intermission. Class. And there were a lot of requests, which shows how Ranger fans appreciate greatness.
*You know why Brad Richard$ gets vilified in this space? Because he has it in him to score goals like the one he put in during tonight's game. Coast to coast, speedy, slices through the defense like butter and calmly puts the puck past the netminder. A true thing of beauty. More consistency of effort would be appreciated. That being said, he has a pretty hot hand now with 12 points in his last eight games - too bad there is still plenty of time until the playoffs.
*Mike Rupp played nearly six minutes, which was nearly six minutes too many. It was perfectly clear that he didn't belong on the same ice as the Red Wings. He can't skate well, he can't stickhandle, he can't do much of anything. It was he who gave Zetterberg the time and space to score the Wings lone goal of the night and how Torts even could have put him out there at the same time as Z is inexplicable. Hell, how he was in the lineup over Feds is also questionable - have to hope the Ukrainian is ok...
*Cally's eighth shot of the night was the one that went in. Dubi had no shots and Gabby just two. Something wrong with that ratio. Everything was right with Cally's final shot - off the post and in - but he shouldn't be the team's triggerman.
*Arty looked tentative with that bum shoulder of his. Have to hope that it keeps healing and he regains his confidence because he needs that to be a factor.
*Love Carl Hagelin but he needs to be reined in a bit - the Swede seems to kick things into overdrive and gets out of control out there. Also needs to use that speed of his to backcheck as well as he forechecks.
*Not sure if Detroit's Brendan Smith was partners with Ryan McDonagh all three seasons the two were at Wisconsin, but they certainly were teammates. That being said, the Rangers certainly got the better of the two Badger blueliners. Smith has ability but McDonagh is the total package (thank you again Bob Gainey, wherever you are).
*PHW Three Stars
3-Ryan Callahan - one goal.
2-Ty Conklin - 32 saves.
1-Henrik Lundqvist - 26 saves.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Datsyuk - Even on an off night, Pasha was still outstanding. Sure he didn't score or do any of his Datsyukian dekes but every shift he did something impressive - make a pass, pick off a pass, force a Ranger play, set up a Detroit rush... amazing.
2-Hank - Several solid stops and his second assist of the season!
1-Cally - Cally is such a good captain that he gives gifts to other people for his birthday. Helluva guy right there.