Sunday, April 4, 2010

36-32-10: Putting Down The Putty Tats

The Rangers pulled even with Philadelphia on points on Saturday night by beating the Florida Panthers 4-1. The Blueshirts battled back from a 1-0 deficit in their first third-period comeback of the season and are right in the thick of the LEastern Conference playoff race.

The Rangers improved to 5-0-1 over the last six games. Before you get too excited, keep in mind that the only half-decent team they faced was New Jersey in this run and the Devils are slumping (3-3-3 in their last nine).

The Ranger run has led to the new poll on the right; make sure you vote. My pick was "Not really" - not because I had faith that the Rangers would show their skill but because I had faith that they would end up breaking our hearts yet again and what better way than this? Either they will roll all the way into the playoffs before failing in the first round or fall just short thanks to the season-ending home-and-home with the Flyers. No matter what, Heartbreak Hotel for the True Blue.

There was nothing heartbreaking about this evening's action so I'll just jump into the randomness:

*The People's Champ Aaron Voros got into it with Nick Tarnasky in the first period. Tarnasky landed several big bombs in the brawl before the Panther literally pulled Voros' leg out from under him. Already down on the ice, the linesmen then jumped on the two fighters, sending Voros backwards with his leg pinned under him. Luckily he just tweaked his knee and was able to get back into the game, especially because he went on to set up Drury's goal.

*That goal pretty much should have been happening all season long. Good positioning allowed Voros to keep the puck in the Florida zone, then he saw a lane so he shot it. Dru went to the net and banged the rebound home. There was nothing cute about the play, nothing fancy ... just smart, simple hockey.

*For all of the early season talk about MDZ and Matt Gilroy being Leetch-like, Marc Staal has been scoring like the legendary blueliner of late. Yesterday he scored on a snap shot off the wing and tonight he rushed through the neutral zone and over the blueline before pulling up to use the defender as a screen to score from above the circle. Staalsie has been seriously good of late and it isn't so surprising that his teammates are following suit and stepping up their game.

*The game wrap on has quotes from several players that Staal's goal was the turning point in the game but the Rangers did have chances throughout the second period, they just couldn't convert on them. Arty Anisimov blew a chance skating through the slot and Vinny Prospal couldn't dunk home a puck from the doorstep to name two. Maybe it is that the Rangers didn't believe they could score before Staal's puck went in but the Panthers certainly didn't appear to have the momentum after the Rangers got their legs back mid-second period - they were clearly tired at the outset.

*For the second straight night Hank played up to his royal moniker and avoided any soft goals against. Hank got lucky that Kamil Kreps' shot early in the third found iron and that Corey Stillman missed an empty net a minute later because either would have sapped the momentum that (may or may not have) came from the Staal goal. The one Florida tally - Keith Ballard's - came on a blast through a screen of three players so you can hardly fault the netminder. All told though, the King made 19 saves in all but it must be stated that this Panther team doesn't have the claws it once did.

*As I tweeted, Jody Shelley is proving to be an articulate and interesting interview. He has also showed off some hockey smarts as he fits in on the line with Prust and Arty. If he shows up for the Philly games the way we need him to and sticks around for next season, I wouldn't mind seeing him back on Broadway next season - maybe even with an A on his sweater (should Prospal not return). It would certainly send a message!

*Erik Christensen has spoken about the need to step up his game to play for a job for next season. Well, losing 11 of 11 faceoffs isn't stepping things up. He has been a solid player but his future is still quite cloudy and performances like tonight's darkens those clouds.

*After the Tampa game Torts said that he needed to get a better look at Corey Locke. So what did he do? He put Locke on the ice for all of four minutes. It is always good to root for the little guy and Locke is quite little so hopefully he will get a shot to show off what he's got.

*PHW Three Stars
3-Keith Ballard - one goal.
2-Brandon Prust - one goal.
1-Marc Staal - one goal.

Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Prust - Another game, another goal. Ho hum. North-south power pucks is making Sather look better and better for adding this tough guy to the roster.
2-Staal - I nearly gave this star to Voros for his fight and assist but Staal's goal was just so pretty and Staalsie did have more than 25 minutes of ice time.
1-Dan Girardi - It wasn't too long ago that Girardi had all but played himself off of Broadway but in this game he was a physical force making smart defensive plays and quick passes. He had a big hit and a lot of blocked shots. We'll never forget the Gaborik/Carcillo incident but more games like this will let us forgive him for it.


Garfinkus said...

Good article as always Scotty. You keep mentioning Shelley and they he's been playing, but I've actually taken more notice to Prust through the last few games. He seems to be skating and hitting harder, and just playing a better game overall.

Anonymous said...

Well,well,well....Let's see...the Rangers will get BLOWN OUT in Buffalo (0 points)....they will defeat Toronto (2 points)...they will beat Philly at home (2points)....and when the ENTIRE season and playoff berth is on the line next Sunday in Philly...THAT'S CORRECT...'CHOKE CITY' will resurface!!! D. CARCILLO & Co. will DESTROY the N.Y. RANGERS which will finish (1) ONE SINGLE point out of a playoff spot!!!!!!Tune in next Sunday at 3P.M.on NBC!!! P.S.- In a few weeks look for your season subscribers renewal for the 2010-2011 season.......GUESS WHAT?? RIGHT...THAT'S RIGHT...TICKET PRICES ARE 'INCREASING'..AGAIN... AGAIN... AGAIN... & AGAIN.. KEEP RENEWING "SUCKERS"!!!!!!!!!!!

Christina (loyal blueshirt fan) said...

The person who wrote this above must be a pussycat themself for leaving an anonymous name, and not stating whose their team. if philly, lord they must be out of their midn. they dont have a solid goaltender and jeff carter is out. theyve been slumping so we'll see

Garfinkus said...

Well, Philly did manage to beat Detroit of the hottest teams in the league at the moment. Gotta give them some credit for that. But I do agree with you Christina, I don't think they can last very long without Carter and a #1 goalie.

Pete said...

Unfortunately, the Rangers will not have much depth to speak of going into a playoff situation. I'm so torn. I don't know whether to root for their success or failure. There's no way this team makes it to a final round. It's just not possible. God doesn't deal in those kinds of miracles.

Scotty Hockey said...

Philly beat a Detroit team that barely tried to win. Starting Osgood for the first time since January and not starting a single tough guy (Brad May? Aaron Downey?) against the Bullies was a recipe for disaster.

Sammael said...

Anyone think that the club will blame the season on injuries???

Even though nearly everyone was healthy for more than 90% of the season...

Anonymous said...

Why do you not want Prospal signed? He's a 60pt guy who we KNOW meshes with Gabby. The Gomez and Jags experiment shows just how hard it is to find forwards who gel.

If we can get him for 2, 2.5, that's solid.


Scotty Hockey said...

All I said was 'should he not return' ... I am admittedly torn about what to do with him but that is a subject for a future post ...

Anonymous said...

this is what happens when I read things before my morning coffee