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Posts Tagged ‘recap’

Now that’s the Chris Drury we’ve all been waiting for.

Clutch. Goal. 3rd period. — Let’s see if he can keep some of that magic for a playoff run.

And Nigel Dawes is turning into a shootout ace in the hole. That might prove to be useful down the stretch.

All in all, it was a huge win for the Rangers. More than that, to score a late goal and ensure at least a point in the game, the Rangers kept hope alive for an Atlantic Division title. Check out the standings here.

By the way, the Rangers are 17-6-1 vs. the Atlantic Division and 38-19-7 against the entire Eastern Conference.  Why are they a middling team then?  They have a 1-7-2 record vs. the Western Conference.  Ouch.  My very high-level analysis:  this bodes well for the playoffs, at least until they have to play a West team…

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With tonight’s win, the Rangers extended their “unbeaten-in-regulation” streak to 11 games! (thanks Sam Rosen for coming up with a nice way to put that), and the Rangers have positioned themselves to make a run at a high playoff seed. Check out the standings here. With the exception of about 10 minutes in the 2nd period, the Rangers looked like far and away the better team.

After watching Lundqvist struggle for a few games, I mentioned he would probably get back to basics in practice, and he was truly fundamentally sound throughout tonight’s game. In terms of positioning, he was pretty much perfect, highlighted for me by his beautiful save staying tall in the net at the beginning of the 2nd period 5-on-3. It wasn’t a flashy save, and you won’t see it on any of the highlight shows, but that was one of those harder-than-it-looks great saves.  You can’t blame Lundqvist for the Islander’s lone goal, which was a double-deflection off Malik’s leg and then Rozsival’s skate. Nothing you can do about that.

In the last 5 games including tonight, Marek Malik has 1 G, 4 A, and a +5 rating. Those are some pretty swanky stats.

The Rangers and Islanders will have another home-and-home series on April 3 and April 4.

**Note: the following has nothing to do with hockey**

A sarcastic congratulations to the Islanders fans, who have sunk to a new low, taking a page out of the University of Maryland fans’ playbook, punctuating the ubiquitous Gary Glitter “Hey!” cheer with a clever and classy “You Suck!” Of course, by clever and classy, I really mean mindless and contemptible. Hey Islanders fans, do you really want to be copying the Twerps? I mean, they are known around the ACC as the least classy and least clever fans. Why don’t the Islanders fans just start throwing beer bottles at player’s mothers? (Like some Maryland fan did to Carlos Boozer’s mother in 2001. Although, to be fair, if my team blew a 10-point lead in the last minute of a game against our biggest rival, I would be pretty ticked off myself. Check out the youtube clip: Miracle Minute). I warned you that I had basketball on the brain.

gary-glitter-3.jpg

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Maybe I’m missing something here… but why in the world would a team choose to shoot first in the shootout? I don’t get it. More on this game later today.

Ok, I thought about this one a little more.  And, I still don’t get it.  I see the point that if your team scores first then it puts the pressure on the other team to match.  Ok, point taken, but let’s be honest, it’s a stupid point.  There’s a reason the home team in baseball gets last licks.  It’s an advantage.  Shooting last in a tied shootout is like having the opportunity to hit a walk-off homerun.  There is no reason for a team to relinquish that position.

As for the game itself, it really kills me to lose a game like this.  The Rangers had a nice comeback to get the game tied, but I felt that the Rangers fell behind in the first place because they had no puck luck at all.  The Rangers definitely outplayed the Islanders for the entire first period, only to give up a fluky late goal off Rozsival’s skate.  The Islanders 3rd goal was also kind of fluky.  Lundqvist struggled to play the puck (thanks to the stupid trapezoid rule) and after the puck popped around to the front of the net, the Islanders simply threw the puck towards the net and it trickled in off a deflection through Lundqvist’s legs.

Lundqvist did not look sharp for a lot of the game.  Don’t get me wrong… I think he played well, especially in the shootout, where he made some awesome saves — the right pad save on Comrie was pretty unreal.  I’m just saying that for most of the game he didn’t look particularly sharp.   As a goalie, I can tell you that there are times where you just don’t feel as sharp as you would like.  Maybe you’re fighting the puck a little, or maybe your head is not in the game.  Whatever it is, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re playing poorly, but when fluky goals are going in off the inside of your skate or trickling in through your legs, you’re not playing your best.

Is it me, or does Backman look a little overmatched on defense?  He was out of position on several occasions, and that was just on Rangers in 60.  Plus, there was a play late in the 2nd period where he threw a blind pass behind his own net that went directly to an Islander and led to a scoring chance.  I’m not impressed with his play so far and I’d rather see Strudwick for a few games, at least until Backman has had more time to practice with his new teammates.

The Rangers penalty killing gets an A+ for this game.

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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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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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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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In today’s matinée at the Garden, the opening puck dropped at 1:00 pm. Just 10 seconds later, Sean Avery drove home a rebound goal sparked by a Brandon Dubinsky drive to the net. The Rangers went on to score three more goals in the 1st period on Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller, who was pulled after just 12:25 played.The Rangers showed no ill-effects from five full days off, and came out like a team on a mission. The new line combinations seemed to be firing on all cylinders, and the Rangers played stifling team defense that frustrated Buffalo’s forwards for most of the game.

Here are 5-hole’s Players of the Game:

1. Brandon Dubinsky – 1 goal, 2 assists.

Made the Buffalo defense look slow several times by cutting hard to the net with the puck from the outside. Created several scoring chances with his speed and willingness to drive to the net.

2. Ryan Callahan – 1 goal.

Was a force to be reckoned with throughout the game on the forecheck. Created several scoring opportunities, and scored his goal after causing a turnover with a big check on Brian Campbell behind the Buffalo net.

3. Sean Avery -2 goals.

Looked great on the ice with Jagr and Dubinsky. Crashed the net off the rush for the 1st goal, and fought hard for rebounds in front of the net throughout the game. Buffalo Defenseman Toni Lydman will definitely have nightmares about Avery torching him for the Rangers 5th goal.

Honorable Mentions: Scott Gomez and Chris Drury

Each had 1 assist, but earn honorable mentions here because of their solid defense all night. Drury played very tough in the Rangers zone, especially along the boards behind the net. He also generated a few nice scoring chances. Gomez was also solid, and had one spectacular goal-saving play in the 2nd period blocking Thomas Vanek’s shot from going into an open net.

Game Notes: Marcel Hossa is in Hartford for conditioning, and will likely miss the Rangers next few games. It was reported earlier this week that Hossa was going to play on the 4th line Saturday instead of Ryan Hollweg, but it was Hollweg on the ice in his usual spot alongside Blair Betts and Colton Orr.

Check out the Video Highlights from today’s game:

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