Friday, March 8, 2013

12-8-2: Edging The Isles

On Thursday night the Rangers faced the Islanders for the third of four times this season and barely edged the blue and orange, taking a 2-1 overtime win from the Mausoleum.

As has often been the case in matches between the two rivals, the Islanders played above their ability and the Rangers played below. The Blueshirts were largely outhustled and outskated, their team defense resembled Swiss cheese and their offense poor and predictable.

But, blissfully, they managed to edge the Isles in the end and extended their winning streak to four games. Rick Nash's return has powered the Rangers past lesser sides, collecting much needed points along the way. With this asterisk of a season, just making the playoffs gives the team a great chance at making the Cup Finals and the Rangers sit in eighth, two games away from the midway mark.

As mentioned last match, this is just the warm up to the real race. It is a shake-down cruise where we see the problems and work to fix them. As this game showed, there are a lot of issues to deal with but they can win despite them. The trick will be to keep doing that as the opponents get better and the games become more important ... just 26 games to go.

Late Hits:

*After putting together another completely forgettable performance, Marian Gaborik gained redemption by scoring the game-winner in overtime (courtesy of a Ryan Callahan screen). It was his eighth goal of this season, and it snapped an eight game goal drought. Interesting fact, Gabby has 37 points against the Isles in his career - the most against any single team other than Edmonton. He has 45 points in 47 games against the Oilers, 37 in 30 against the Isles. Can't hate on anyone who owns the Islanders ... except for Charles Wang.

*Astounding how many times the Rangers aimed for the logo on Nabokov's chest. They made the Kazakh look excellent until Rick Nash managed to deflect Step's shot down between the goaltender's legs. Great hands by Nash after he wasted a number of good chances earlier on. It appears that, like the Borg of Star Trek, NHL goaltenders are adapting to his one lethal move.

*Nash was one of those responsible for the Grabner goal - along with Eminger, Del Zaster and Hank. But Sather didn't trade for him for his defense so whatever. At least he didn't take any bad penalties for once.

*Stop with the blind passes already. All of you.

*Welcome to the Rangers Vlad Malakhov Karel Rachunek Sandis Ozolinsh Christian Backman Dmitri Kalinin Roman Hamrlik. The Capitals' castoff played his first game as a Ranger and brought exactly what was expected of him - bad decisions, poor positioning and zero offense. Putting him with Steve Eminger was a mistake, as Emmy can't skate particularly well and the Isles abused them both. It was only the fifth appearance of the season for the 38 year old, who was right when he said that time was his enemy during the lockout - the years have not been kind and he has his work cut out to get back into NHL form.

*If Staal can't regain his full eyesight and recover from whatever concussion issues he may have incidentally suffered, the Rangers are screwed. Can't go very far with just two competent defensemen on the roster.

*J.T. Miller looked pretty good with Cally on his wing. Has to be quite the boost for the rookie to look over and know he has the captain at his side.

*A sellout was announced but the Mausoleum looked pretty damned empty on tv. For those that were there, how bad was it? Heard plenty of "Let's go Rangers" chants, heard there was at least one fight in the audience. Anyone get touched inappropriately by that clown Goldie? Or was he being touched inappropriately himself in prison, where he belongs?

*Still sad that the linesman broke up the Bickel/Finley bout; few things are more wonderful to watch than an Islander getting his ass kicked. (Although Stu woulda had his work cut out for him, Finley rag-dolled Pruster earlier this season.)

*Another game against a former team of Arron Asham's. Another game Arron Asham didn't play. Would have liked to see Haley run wild for a while but, after Grabner's early goal, you knew Torts wasn't going to allow that. Too bad.

*PHW Three Stars:
3-Evgeni Nabokov - 35 saves.
2-Michael Grabner - one goal.
1-Rick Nash - one goal and one assist.

Scott Hockey Three Stars:
3-Grabner - The Austrian scored the first goal and had several other great chances but his abominably penalty in overtime opened the door for the Rangers.
2-Henrik Lundqvist - Sure Nabby made more saves but Hank had to stop far better chances.
1-Stepan - Step not only fired the shot that Nash deflected for the regulation goal but he had a huge hand in the OT winner. He won the offensive zone faceoff (AMAZING!) and he controlled the rebound of Gabby's initial shot that was blocked.


Paul said...

Thank you so much for the Goldie link to his arrest!!! I can't stand that loser. I once sat next to Islanders season ticket holders a few years ago at a Rangers-Isles game and they were actually really nice. I told them how much I disliked that loser and they told me they did too and that he has been accused of touching children before. Also, I went to a Leafs game at that dump years ago and had a Mats Sundin jersey on. He came up to me and booed at me. This was our convo:
Me: "Get out of my face you child molester".
Goldie: "At least tell me you hate the Rangers" (Put out his hand to me)
Me: Actually I like the Rangers. Get away from me."

Paul said...

Also Scotty for your viewing pleasure the NY Post has a mug shot of him!