Wednesday, April 7, 2010

36-33-10: One Save & We're Done

The shock of Henrik Lundqvist being pulled in the second period tonight didn't quite rival that of Tretiak getting yanked in the Miracle game but it was close. Replacing your star goaltender in one of the most important - if not the most important - game(s) of the season certainly comes with an element of surprise. John Tortorella's bold move came after Hank gave up the third goal in what was to be a 5-2 Ranger loss to the Buffalo Sabres.

The King had allowed three goals on 16 shots but the Blueshirts were only behind by one when the hook came out. Hank was clearly upset and who could blame him? Two of the three goals against weren't his fault but were due to the half-assed efforts of the team in front of him. Torts pulling this act was a clear sign of the helplessness he feels at not being able to properly prepare and motivate his players. Let's hope that it was one of the LAST moves by a desperate man before he loses his job.

That being said, Hank's benching did provide a short boost but when Marian Gaborik was stopped by Ryan Miller (more on that later), all of the energy was gone and Miller's side smoothly closed out the victory. That is the difference between good teams and ours - when a good team goes down and/or misses a big chance, they still believe they can win and keep putting out the effort that it takes to pull that off. All of the mind games that Torts has pulled and all of the terrible results that they have brought about this season have helped sap that belief.

Even with the loss, the Rangers still have a far better record on the road then at home. In New York they are spoiled with their luxury homes, their luxury practice facility and us, the best fans in the NHL. We are also the stupidest, seeing as we keep paying for that luxury that clearly makes life too comfortable for them to play tough.

I would launch into my usual notes but really, there is another game tonight so here are some quick hits:

*Arty, Shelley and Prust was the best line again; that Arty had twice as many shots as Gabby pretty much says it all.

*Cally came back and was tough for a period or so before fading.

*MDZ still is not good in his own end. Not even close. But he is still a teenager so we will still let him off the hook (sorry Hobey, you are just a few years too old - stay in the press box like a good boy).

*Lindy Ruff is one helluva coach - look at the names on that roster and then look at the top of the Northeast Division, and it hasn't all been the Ryan Miller show.

*I called in the Peepin Foes that Drew Stafford would score. Rangers = slump busters.

*PHW Three Stars
3-Drew Stafford - one goal and one assist.
2-Steve Montador - two assists.
1-Tyler Ennis - one goal and two assists.

Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Tyler Myers - It should come down to Myers vs. Howard for the Calder this year. I give the edge to Howard but only because he is the last line of defense, Myers has Miller. But Miller is quite lucky to have the gargantuan kid in front of him.
2-Tyler Ennis - Great performance by the little guy. He was everything Corey Locke wasn't given the opportunity to be.
1-Miller - Marian Gaborik had the entire net to shoot on but he placed the shot right in the middle: a point right where Miller could move laterally across and get. Miller made it look impressive - he had overcommitted in the first place - but the point is that he made it. And that was the game.


Ilikebeinganonymous said...

If you look close, you can almost see the tears in Queen Hank's eyes.

Anonymous said...

Just as I said in Sunday's post: "the Rangers will get BLOWN out in Buffalo"....John Tortorella has lost this 'TEAM'...just ask HENRIK!!!

Faraway Fan said...

Here's hoping somewhere Tom Renney is laughing, since Tortorella has turned out be such a joke.

Anonymous said...

Locke did absolutely nothing when he was here. Little guys can certainly work, but he has absolutely no desire to go into hard areas like other runts like Cally, St. Louis, etc.

I did like PA though. However, it's a shame that he's really just another 3rd liner on a team already jammed up at that position....

I only caught in the second following the yank. I agree with the goals—all on the d, cept the five hole but even then, it's not like the D was playing well. Hank's just gotta cover his fivehole though.

They looked like total shit in the third, no energy, no forechecking. The team packed it in.


Anonymous said...

Two out of three weren't Hank's fault. Really? And than you go on and poo poo Miller. Geeze man Lundqvist played poorly at a bad time. It happens.

Anonymous said...

If Hank had the Devils in front of him he'd have a record this year as good if not better than Fatso. How can anyone blame Hank when he plays as well as he does with the worst, yes the worst, defense in the league in front of him.

I also agree with Anonymous#2 that this team is just loaded with 2nd and 3rd liners with the exception of Gabs.

Next year (because this year is done--no playoffs for the Rangers--they will miss by 2 points) they really need to waive/trade Redden, Rozival, Gilroy, Girardia, get a first line center, a complimentary first line winger and a legitimate first line defense. If not, it will be Ground Hog Day Hockey for another 3-4 years.

Good grief Charlie Brown...

Anonymous said...

If you had the best fans in the NHL the Garden would not be full of empty and available seats at almost every game and so many opposing fans as you always point out.

Anonymous said...

Fatqvist is good for one horrible game a week, maybe he should get rid of his billboard pads and give Garth Snow back his chest protector so he can get those flabby arms up to use his glove hand.

If Renney's trap is not working he's a mediocre goaltender who lets in a ton of softies.