Sunday, December 14, 2008
After being totally beaten down by the Devils on Friday by a score of 8-5, The Blueshirts escaped again with a shoot-out win over the Carolina Hurricanes. There's no need for me to discuss the Devil game in detail. We all saw what happened (Devils basically kicked sand in the Rangers faces). I'd rather talk about the victory over the Hurricanes - as well as the positives.
Henrik Lundqvist, who's been left out to dry quite a bit lately, was back to his regular MVP-like self. Carolina outshot the Rangers 31-29. Again, I can't stress enough, this team goes as the King goes. Plain and simple. I just wish more players would step up and be as professional as Henrik is.
The game itself was rather uninspiring as both team played it close to the vest, almost hoping for OT or a shoot-out. The Rangers opened up the scoring on a nice passing play by Zherdev to Gomez, finished off by Naslund on... hold it now, a PP goal?! Woo-hoo! Carolina then tied it up on a Tuomo Ruutu goal just 22 seconds later (nothing like taking the air out of a balloon). Then, Blair Betts took a nice pass from Freddie Sjostrom, on a shorthanded chance, and buried a snap shot for a 2-1 lead. In the 2nd, Ray Whitney blasted a wristshot past a screened Lundqvist to make it a 2-2 game.
In OT, Lundqvist as usual had to make the harder saves to get the Blueshirts to a shootout. In the shootout, Naslund, Zherdev, Sjostrom, and Gomez all missed their shots. As a result, this allowed Drury to play the hero with a nice fake and backhand past Cam Ward. Lundqvist then stymied Justin Williams on the final shot, for the win. It's nice to get the 2 points, but the leaders and top lines need to pick it up. When the 3rd and 4th lines show more passion and better overall play - something is wrong.
As for this road trip to California... boy, they had better be rested and ready to play at the puck's dropping. The Ducks and the improving Kings will be tough. Let alone going into San Jose (Boy, are they good)! The Rangers are going to have to play smart, intelligent, and physical hockey on the road trip. Over and out!
Oh... and by the way. Sean Avery's available now? Hmm.