Saturday, March 9, 2013

12-9-2: Scotiabank Place South

On Friday night the Ottawa Senators - sans their top forward, their top defenseman and their starting goaltender - defeated the New York Rangers for the second time this season. Less than 24 hours after their emotional overtime win over the Isles, the Blueshirts lost an end-to-end track meet to the Sens, 3-2.

After being so good in the bumper games of back-to-backs in recent seasons, this loss dropped the the Rangers to 0-3 in them with three more to go. They let Ottawa, who were off on Thursday, set the tempo of the game and they couldn't keep up. Last season the Blueshirts could have calmed things down and grinded out a victory. This year ... notsomuch.

Late Hits: 

*Interesting factoid: The 21-1-3 Chicago Blackhawks have three players that have played for them this season average less than 11 minutes of ice time. The 12-9-2 New York Rangers have had 12. On the flip side, the Hawks have just three players average more than 21 minutes. The Rangers? Seven.

*Another factoid: Ottawa is now 6-0 at MSG since practicing outside in Central Park. They had lost two of the previous three (one in a shootout). The Rangers would rather practice in their secluded Westchester country club of a facility, far away from the people who pay their salaries.

*Infuriating to watch the MSG 150 continually steal stories from Puck Daddy and other blogs with giving any credit. Just more coal for the inferno of hatred I have for them for forcing Joe Micheletti upon us.

*But the network does deserve some credit, they were right: MDZ was key. Del Zaster came inches away from converting a beautiful cross-ice feed from J.T. Miller in the second period, sending his shot into the iron rather than the net. But instead of putting his team ahead 3-2, he allowed Ottawa to seize the lead by losing his coverage on Silfverberg in the third. It is amazing how often he gets caught watching the play instead of doing his job defensively. (Thanks to @mom2zap for the screen grab.)

*Stop me if you've heard this before: the Rangers took poor, lazy penalties.

*One of the guilty was Marian Gaborik. Gabby took a poor tripping penalty and Pat Wiercioch threaded a shot through traffic on the ensuing power play to make it a 2-0 game. And it is amazing how the Slacking Slovak went right back to being an offensive nonfactor hours after being hailed a hero for his OT goal.

*Brad Richard$ actually looked alright in his return from that horrific hit by the clown Kaleta, showing no signs of injury from that slam into the boards. Nice to see him make the most of that beautiful setup by Carl Hagelin.

*Really hope Brian Boyle doesn't return to the Ranger lineup. Good riddance to overripe garbage.

*That being said, having Stu Bickel on the fourth line is just ridiculous. Sather has to do something, anything to get some depth in this organization.

*Love that a Ranger was willing to hit someone. Hate that he was being stupid doing it. Micheal Haley leapt to hit Jim O'Brien high and then threw off his gloves before he was even challenged by Chris Phillips.

*Of course, the Blueshirts wasted the power play they shockingly received for the incident, as they did with another Ottawa penalty in the third period. Boring, predictable not-so-special special team.

*What is it with the Rangers making mediocre Ottawa goaltenders look good? Remember when Mike Brodeur shut them out a few years back? That sucked. So did seeing Step shank a perfect opportunity off a feed from Gabby in the second period.

*Marc Staal really has to heal quickly; the Rangers simply won't be able to survive long term having a bottom four of Eminger, Del Zaster, Hamrlik and Stralman. The usually reliable McD and Girardi have had lapses this season and the other four are incapable of picking up meaningful minutes.

*Ottawa spent far too much time around Henrik all night long (all night) and no one got in Silfverberg's face for that third period snow shower. Really wish I knew why Tortorella encourages his team to let opponents harass his best, most important player without repercussions.

*PHW Three Stars:
3-Sergei Gonchar - two assists.
2-Rick Nash - one goal.
1-Jacob Silfverberg - one goal.

Scotty Hockey Three Stars:
3-Hank - The King was under siege and still made 36 saves. The three goals against were tough to hang on him as one was deflected, one threaded through traffic and one was from someone at point-blank range who should have been covered.
2-Gonchar - A skilled puck-moving power play quarterback. Miss the days when the Rangers had one of those ...
1-Silfverberg/Hagelin - The Swedish national team will have two really good players in a few seasons. Both have serious speed, both are tenacious and both are quite skilled.

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