Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Markus Naslund, Nik Antropov, and Chris Drury went 3 for 3 in a 4-3 shootout win over the Montreal Canadiens. The Rangers dominated this game and it never should have got to a shootout, but on St. Patrick’s Day, Montreal got lucky more than once with the big one coming off of a Chris Drury mistake (Very un-veteran like). When Drury failed to dump the puck into the Canadiens zone, Andrei Markov wound up firing a puck past Henrik Lundqvist. It was a save that The King should have made - no ifs, ands, or buts. The Blueshirts basically outchanced Montreal (42-29 in favor of the Rangers) and looked like the more energetic team for most of the game.
Nik Antropov started the Rangers off on the right foot by banging in a rebound off of a Chris Drury shot (How's that trade looking right now?). Alexei Kovalev answered for the Canadiens on a pretty pass by Andrei Markov with a perfect shot over Lundqvist's shoulder. The other Nik, Nikolai Zherdev, fired a knuckle ball past a stunned Carey Price to give the Rangers a 2-1 lead. Once again, the Rangers aggression got Montreal back in the game when Marc Staal got caught up ice and Maxim Lapierre turned Dan Girardi inside out to tie the game at 2. After great work by Brandon Dubinsky behind the Canadiens net, Ryan Callahan's backhand gave the Rangers a seemingly comfortable 3-2 lead. Unfortunately, that's when the Drury gaff almost cost the Rangers the game and a late penalty kill on a silly tripping penalty by Scott Gomez with less than 2 minutes to go. I thought the luck of the Irish was against the Rangers, but they managed to kill the Penalty and get it to OT. In the end, Chris Drury made up in a way with the game winner on a nice 5-hole shot past Carey Price in the shootout. However, it never should have even come to that. The Canadiens got lucky tonight, the Rangers should have had the 2 points to Montreal's 0. Well, that's hockey.
A couple of other things, how in the world do two referees miss the big elbow that Sean Avery took to his melon by Glen Metropolit? I think I can answer that... It's Sean Avery! That's how! Could you imagine if it was the other way around? The NHL brass, once again, looks like fools. But what else is new? The last thing that I want to discuss is that things never change in Montreal when it comes to their fans. I played at the old Forum and trust me, you were never going to get a break from the referees. The fans believe if you so much as breath on their beloved players, it's got to be a penalty. The new building? Same story. The referees will tell you different, but I believe that they get intimidated by the aura, history, and the fans of Montreal and that's that. Big win for the Rangers, but no time to relax... the playoff train ride continues at MSG on Saturday against the Sabres!
I will be attending a dinner to benefit the Ron Greschner foundation In Queens, NY on Wednesday. Ron's foundation is a great cause that raises money for autism research. If you're interested and want to make a donation please visit: www.rongreschnerfoundation.com
Over and out!