Wednesday, February 20, 2013

8-6-1: Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Two teams stepped onto the MSG ice last night. One was playing on their home ice, carrying a 4-0-1 streak after a day off. The other had a 4-0 streak, playing less than 24 hours after a physical win in Carolina. Neither team played particularly well, but one appeared utterly exhausted and lifeless. Yep that one was the Rangers.

The Blueshirts sleepskated through one of the dullest affairs in recent history, a boring game largely devoid of displays of skill or physicality. For two Original Six teams, there was no sign of any rivalry in this one but - like the vast majority of their matches over the last 86 seasons - Montreal ended up on top. The Habs came from behind to beat the Hab-nots 3-1, helped by the one guy who played like he wanted to be there: Brandon Prust.

Pruster threw his body around, checking his former teammates and blocking their shots. He played at even strength, on the power play and (of course) shorthanded. And he had a big hand in the game-winning goal, making a brilliant backhanded pass across the slot to untouched rookie Alex Galchenyuk. It was a triumphant return for the former Ranger, as he showed his old team exactly what they were missing.

It is long past time to lament the loss of Sean Avery, who became persona non grata the second John Tortorella was mistakenly hired. The team went on without him and still had sparkplugs in Cally, Dubi, Fedotenko and Prust. Three of those four are now gone and their replacements on the roster could not get anything going last night. Pyatt was tightly checked, Miller was invisible and Asham was utterly ineffective (as per usual).

The Blueshirts have won most of their games this season because of their skill, not their grit - a reversal from last year. But when the Richard$ plays piss poorly, Gabby allows himself to be marginalized and Rick Nash doesn't even bother to show up, the grit guys have to pick up the slack and that did not happen. More of the current crew need to learn that "it's just pain" and play their hardest.

A few Late Hits:

*Maybe they should re-paint the red line green, because the Rangers concede passage into their own end every rush. Where is the forecheck?

*After being utterly delighted by a perfect power play goal on Sunday the man advantage regressed back to its utterly awful self. Normally a team down 2-1 in the third period that gets a power play would get a chance to tie things up. For the Rangers it only brought them two minutes closer to the final buzzer.

*Mentioned Pruster's pretty feed before but credit is due to Step's stellar set-up - he threaded the puck under the defenseman's stick right to Stralman for the slam dunk.

*The game-tying goal was thanks to Del Zaster. He allowed his man to get behind him and turned to watch the play. McD had to skate over to try to clear the Canadien from the crease and, timing being every thing, he screened Hank. DZ's utter lack of defensive ability strikes again.

*Boyle has come out of the gates strong the last two games but is still not a good hockey player. The majority of his hits don't achieve anything and he still avoids screening the goaltender.

*Had hoped to see more from Mashinter but he was shackled with Asham on his line so it is of little surprise he saw little ice time and was unable to do anything with it.

*PHW Three Stars:
3-Carl Hagelin - one assist.
2-Carey Price - 24 saves.
1-Alex Galchenyuk - one goal.

Scotty Hockey Three Stars:
3-Step - The kid is picking up some of the slack as Richard$ skates around collecting his paycheque.
2-Galchenyuk - Young American clearly has a bright future ahead of him.
1-Prust - He had a point to prove and he did just that. 

1 comment:

Paul said...

Hey Scotty. I was at the game and almost fell asleep in my seat. I was also at the Habs game down in Florida last week and the same thing happened. The Habs trap play makes the Lemaire Devils look like the 80s Oilers. They are winning a lot of games due to the trap and a stellar goalie. But so boring. As for the Del Zotto play I thought it was supposed to be an icing. The linesman even had his arm up but this is what the NY Post explained what happened on the Habs first goal:

" The one mistake that seemed to turn the tide came late in the second period with the Rangers up 1-0 on a goal from Anton Stralman. Chasing the puck whacked from the Canadiens zone back behind his own net — for what could have been time No. 359 during a game of chip-and-chase that would have been dizzying if not so tiring — Rangers defenseman Michael Del Zotto touched up what he thought would be an icing call.

Instead, linesman Mark Wheler decided there would be no stoppage, and the result was Habs sniper Max Pacioretty being left wide open in the high slot, a sharp wrister tying it 1-1.

“He didn’t explain himself,” Del Zotto said of his discussion with Wheler. “Three of us [on the ice] heard him calling for icing, and it ended up hurting us. It changes the momentum, definitely.”

Tortorella said the play was explained to him that because Del Zotto was shielding the oncoming forechecker and not focused on skating directly to the puck, the icing was called off.

“Doesn’t matter,” Tortorella said. “That doesn’t cost us the game, there’s no excuse there.”