Thursday, December 18, 2008
With the Mats Sundin drama finally winding down (hopefully), the New York Rangers have quietly taken the first 2 games of a 3 game Western Conference road trip. In Anaheim, the Blueshirts played one of their best overall games in quite sometime, with a 3-1 victory over the Ducks. I felt that the Rangers took away the passing lanes and really clogged up Anaheim's offensive attack. Henrik Lundqvist finally had an easy night turning away just 19-20 shots. The scorers for the Rangers were: Christ Drury, Nigel Dawes, and Nik Zherdev (who was awarded a goal when Anaheim pulled their goalie and took down Zherdev on a breakaway). You gotta like the effort by the Rangers in this game, outshooting the Ducks 30-20. The Rangers really deserved this one as they played a perfect road game. Smart and good defensive play usually gives you a shot at winning on the road.
Now, on to LA... what a difference a day makes! The Rangers were outplayed for the most part in this game. But, in the end, they don't draw pictures on a score sheet and the final result was a 3-2 OT victory over the LA Kings. If not for the super, and I mean super, effort of Steve Valiquette in net for the Rangers - it would have been a blowout for the Kings! I really don't know what happened to the Rangers, as they left whatever legs they had behind on the ice in Anaheim. No excuse for it.
Patrick O'Sullivan opened the scoring up for LA, with Chris Drury tying it up late in the 1st on a shot that goalie Jason LaBarbera wishes he could have back. The Rangers were lucky to escape the 1st with a tied score. The Rangers then took a 2-1 lead on a weird and wacky play on the PP. Sean O'Donnell slapped a broken stick towards Michal Rozsival, who was manning the point on the PP. Rozsival, who had the puck at the time, was then awarded with a penalty shot. Rozy made the Kings pay with a nice fake and backhand that would of made Alexander Ovechkin proud. Nice job Rozy!
In the 3rd, the Rangers got caught running around and staring at the puck when Dustin Brown tied it up at 2 a piece (Boy, is Dustin Brown a player). For the rest of the 3rd period, the teams tried but could not end it in regulation - that's where Michal Rozsival steps in. Rozsival ended it in OT with a blast from the point that would not be denied. Rozy's laser found the top right corner of the net and left a stunned LA Kings crowd and a jubilant Rangers squad.
2 for 2 so far with the big bad monster, the San Jose Sharks, just ahead on Saturday. You would think the drama of the Sundin decision might have some effect on the current roster, but so far so good! Good game in Anaheim, not so good in LA... but still 2 wins. What's to complain about if you're a Ranger? Over and out!