Archive for February, 2008

avery1.jpgIn the Buffalo game, Sean Avery accomplished one my favorite hockey feats: a Gordie Howe Hat Trick.

With a few seconds left in the first period, he fought Patrick Katela. Then, halfway through the 2nd period, he had an assist on Michael Rozsival’s game-tying-goal. And, of course, Avery scored the game-winner late in the 3rd.

Nice job!

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The Rangers are looking good.

How about Marek Malik? I didn’t hear anyone at the Garden booing the much-maligned defenseman after he scored a goal and an assist. He received a loud ovation when he was announced as the second star of the game in what might have been his Rangers curtain-call. Hey Rangers fans: stop booing your own players! We are not the Knicks!

How about Jaromir Jagr? He scored a sweet goal, tucking the puck inside the post while going full speed past the net. After going most of the season without making much noise, he is finally starting to look like the Rangers best player (which is what he is).

How about Scott Gomez? Finally looking comfortable on this side of the Hudson, Gomez scored a goal and 2 assists.

How about Tom Renney?  He looks like a genius.  The new line combos have been awesome.  This is the Rangers team everyone wanted to see before the season started.  The top 3 lines are capable of scoring any time they are on the ice, and the 4th line provides a few solid shifts every period.  The Defense looks solid, and with Henrik starting to look like his old self in the net, this Rangers team certainly looks like they can be competitive with any team in the East.

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UPDATE: Paul Mara and Colton Orr were both injured in last night’s game against the Sabres and will not play tonight.  They have been replaced by Jason Strudwick and Marcel Hossa.  Hossa will play on the 4th line with Betts and Hollweg.  Strudwick will most likely skate with Marc Staal.

The surging Rangers look to keep their 6-game unbeaten-in-regulation streak alive tonight against the Panthers. (As an aside, the Rangers are 4-0-2 in their last 6, but I’m not really sure what to call the streak. I can’t say just “unbeaten” because they’ve lost twice. “Points” streak just sounds weird to me. So I’m going with unbeaten-in-regulation until someone gives me a better idea. Does anyone out there have an idea? Leave it in the comments.)

It was just a few weeks ago when the Rangers were sitting in the cellar of the Atlantic division. The race was so tight, however, that after rattling off a few wins, the Rangers are back within range. We will have a better idea of their position after tonight. The Devils and Penguins are both in action this afternoon. (As I write this, the Devils and Capitals are tied 1-1 early in the 3rd period, while the Penguins and Sharks are tied 0-0 in the 2nd intermission).

The Panthers did their part for the Rangers cause yesterday in Philadelphia, scoring with 4 seconds left in the 3rd period to force OT, then winning the game in the extra frame to prevent the Flyers from gaining the precious 2 points. The Panthers are a talented team and should not be taken lightly. Their Defense, while ranked among the worst in the NHL, is bolstered by the talented Jay Bouwmeester, who leads the NHL in ice time (more than 27 mins/game). Olli Jokinen, a.k.a. the guy who sliced Zednik’s neck open, leads the Panthers in scoring. If the Rangers can contain Jokinen’s line, which includes shifty youngster Nathan Horton, (and that’s a big IF), I expect the Rangers to win.

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In what might be the best misfire in Rangers history, Brendan Shanahan, with the game tied at 3 late in the 3rd period, teed up a shot in the slot and just barely got a piece of the puck. The misfire trickled towards the corner, but was intercepted by Sean Avery, who buried the puck in the back of the net. The goal gave the Rangers a 4-3 lead, and they held on to win.

The win gives the Rangers some momentum as well as some breathing room in the standings, with a slim 2 point lead over the Sabres for 7th place in the East. (The Sabres have 1 less game played).

The Rangers top line of Jagr-Dubinsky-Avery scored 3 goals in the game (1 by each player), and played with great intensity throughout. Jagr ended a 13-game drought in goal scoring. The other Rangers goal was cashed in by Nigel Dawes on a weak wrister that beat Miller over the glove hand. (It seems to us that Miller is a little too eager to get down on his knees…… hmm… interesting…).

The Rangers take a red-eye back to NYC tonight and will be in action tomorrow evening against the Panthers in Madison Square Garden. Preview coming later.

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The Rangers play the Sabres tonight in Buffalo.   The last time these teams met was 1 week ago at Madison Square Garden, and resulted in a 5-1 Rangers victory.

How are the Rangers going to play as a team after suffering that devastating loss in Montreal?  They’ve had a few days off to stew about it, and while the quotes from the players have been optimistic, it’s something that is not easily forgotten.

This is Chris Drury’s first game in Buffalo as a Ranger.  You can expect lots of booing when he has the puck.

This should be a tightly contested game.  Both teams want to get 2 points, and both teams will be trying to win in regulation.  Now I’m off to watch the Duke game.

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I’m kind of at a loss for words about this game. Halfway through the 2nd, I thought I’d be writing in this space about the Rangers finally scoring some PP goals, or Jagr’s 4 assists. But now all I can think about is how those smug French Canadians, who boo-ed every single whistle in the game (including icings) and threw their garbage Habs handouts on the ice, are currently smugly basking in the glow of an all-time great comeback — smugly.

Yeah, I realize the Rangers were just completely outplayed the entire 2nd half of the game, and if you really pressed me I would admit that the Canadiens deserved to win that game. If not for Lundqvist coming up huge in a few spots, it could have easily been 6 or 7 goals in regulation.

My only question: Where were the hockey gods on this one? The only things that should be thrown on the ice during a game are hats (in the event of a hat trick only), possibly an octopus, and maybe some plastic rats. That’s about it.

Oh yeah… congratulations to Alexei “Tin Man” Kovalev, who apparently got to see the Wizard, and found a heart sometime after leaving the Rangers.

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Three times the Rangers have played the Canadiens and twice they have come from behind to win the game.  The first came in the first meeting between these two teams back on December 30, 2007.  The Rangers were down by a goal late in the third period only to have what had appeared to be the game-tying goal taken away after a video review.  Not willing to let this game go, Chris Drury scored a minute later and sent the game to OT.  Brendan Shanahan eventually scored in OT to get the Rangers the win.

The next time the Rangers and Canadiens played was January 12, 2008.  The Rangers had not won a game since defeating the Canadiens in OT 13 days earlier.  The Rangers would win 4-1.

Finally, on February 3, 2008, the Rangers played the Canadiens at the Bell Centre for the first time this season.  After falling behind by 3 goals just a quarter of the way into the second period, the Rangers suddenly woke up and scored 5 goals in a row.

Hopefully, tonight the Rangers wont have to battle back when the take on the Canadiens in Montreal for the fourth and final time of the regular season.  Henrik Lundqvist will get the start against Carey Price.

You can watch the game locally on FSN-NY.

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