Friday, January 21, 2011

27-19-3: Sad Loss Down South

The Blueshirts were battered by the Hurricanes on Thursday night 4-1. At some point people are going to start hanging every loss on the rash of injuries but the fact is that the Rangers actually had a chance to win this one, or at least make it far more of the game it became.

The difference was tactical, as Tortorella's decision to start Hank for a second straight night backfired. After all of that talk about saving Lundqvist for the games that matter, Torts went with the King against the loser Leafs. When he made that call, he had to back it up by using the backup against the more important Carolina team ... but he didn't. Instead Hank was back in the crease and the goaltender gave up the all-important first goal, one that was simply soft. The Rangers had had the energy and the momentum and it all drained out as the puck trickled through his legs. Zook had a good chance six, seven minutes later but the full-team pressure that the Rangers had put on Ward was gone.

And, of course, not too much time passed before Mike Sauer got called for a bad penalty. And, of course, the usually-diligent Ranger PK went into a diamond that was sliced in half by the laser of Uh Oh Corvo. Sure the shot was tipped but it shouldn't have gotten to the slot - Boyle gave him too much room and too much time. Conn Smythe winner Ward was able to calm things down and hold the Blueshirts at bay, showing that he is still one of the best in the business. Hank is too, but he was lulled into complacency by the pop-gun attack of the Leafs the night before.

Hopefully this was a wake-up call for the King as the Southeastern swing continues with games in Atlanta (Saturday) and Washington (Monday).


*How can you not love Brandon Prust? Seriously? Bad shoulder and all, the guy refuses to relent. He blew an early breakaway but kept on battling. He fought Jay Harrison and too a few good shots before turning the tables. And then he nearly lost the puck in traffic but kept with it and scored in the third period ... what more can you want from a guy? Heart and soul. With Cally, Dubi and Prospal all out, it would be great if Prust was rewarded with an A - even if it is temporary.

*From a guy deserves a letter to one who doesn't: nice of Chris Drury to contribute nothing, again. He has to took around and see that he is skating alongside Dale Weise and Kris Newbury - a far cry from Hejduk, Forsberg, Briere, Vanek, etc. Wouldn't that motivate him to be better?

*Marian Gaborik scores four goals against the hapless Leafs and yet doesn't even manage four SHOTS in this one. I said it yesterday, "the guy shows up when there is a dog to kick but when a real opponent comes around this season he has been the dog."

*Nice fight by Newbury. One day after making Sloppy Seconds look stupid Newbury engaged in a good battle with former Duck Ryan Carter. I knew I remembered his name from somewhere - Carter was beaten up by Ryan Hollweg at the Garden a few years back. Newbury, by the way, won eight of 10 faceoffs. Not too shabby.

*Derek Stepan needs to find his consistency. His skill level is unquestioned but some mental mistakes are sneaking through, as one did tonight on Skinner's goal. Step hasn't quite hit the College-Kid Wall but he is showing signs - hopefully the All Star break will do him well.

*So Sean Avery slashes Erik Cole and is penalized. Cole slashes Avery and is not penalized. Cole chases down Avery and both are equally penalized even though Cole initiated the contact. And the officials step in to break up what could have been a good fight. Ok then, that makes sense, right?

*Hopefully that same break won't break the momentum that Zuccarello has built up. The little man is playing big and getting in good spots to score. At some point more of those great chances will go in and when they do ... look out. Torts will want to re-unite Cally with Arty but with Dubi out, perhaps Zook could be a good fit with them.

*While I am still sad we didn't get to see Brodie Dupont make his debut, Chad Kolarik fared well in his first foray in a Blueshirt. He made some mistakes and seemed to struggle with the pace once or twice but he does have good offensive instincts.

*What the hell is that Tarzan cry that they kept playing in Carolina? Ugh.

*PHW Three Stars
3-Cam Ward - 39 saves.
2-Jeff Skinner - one goal and one assist.
1-Chad LaRose - one goal and one assist.

Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Prust - It is becoming cliche but In Prust We Trust. If there is one blue collar Blueshirt who this city could/should be proud of, it is Prust.
2-Skinner - MSG may love to get a laugh out of the kid's figure skating background but it is the former (Kitchener) Ranger who will have the last laugh. With Logan Couture's injury issues many may Believe in Bob for the Calder but my money is on this Carolina kid.
1-Ward - Is it the fact that he plays in Carolina that keeps him out of most people's minds when they name the top goaltenders in the league? I myself have left him out of the conversation in the past but certainly won't do it again ...


Anonymous said...

Watch the replay, the last goal was Staal's fault. He got beat clean and it was a great pass from LaRose.

So basicly your saying we have to get a shutout from Lundqvist to be competitive. Great. Can we F'n convert on a breakaway?

Scotty Hockey said...

Saw the replay several times. While Staal pulled a Rozsival and tried to pathetically stickcheck LaRose, Step lost his coverage, letting Skinner cut right past him into the slot.

Paul said...

Hey Scotty,
Love your blog. Question for you. Are players in the NHL allowed to take pay cuts to ease salary cap issues for their team and if they are don't you think if Chris Drury was a real "team player" and captain he would take one for next season?

David said...

Paul, players and an organization can always renegotiate a contract, but it's rare since only one side would want that. If the player was exceptional and making less, the organization wouldn't hear of it. Vice versa for Drury. He looks around the league and knows he is overpaid for the production he provides, but in fairness, if you get a great deal in your employment, would you give up part of your salary for the better of the organization? I don't think Drury is worth what he is paid, but can't blame him for cashing his paycheck every week, I would do the same. The blame would go to whoever awarded him that deal. Now who would that be? Hmm...

Paul said...

You bring up excellent points but I can dream can't I? I think the person you are referring to rhymes with bather. LOL! It does happen once in a while though. Gil Meche just retired from the Royals and turned down the $12 million KC owed him for next year. Also, Marcus Naslund did the Rangers a huge favor a couple years ago by retiring.

Anonymous said...

Drury really needs to hang them up, right fucking now