Rangers Come Up Large

Sunday, February 14, 2010

After an excellent road win in Pittsburgh (3-2, OTW), which has been a house of horrors for the Rangers in recent years, the boys headed home for a 1 PM matinee. The Rangers squared off against the Tampa Bay Lightning, who just came off of a loss to the New York Islanders the day prior. Like in Pittsburgh, there was no Gaborik or Del Zotto. The Rangers needed to get these 2 very important points before the Olympic break.

Early on, the game didn’t look too good for the Rangers. The Rangers looked slow, lifeless, and really uninterested. As a result, the scoreboard showed it. Down 2-0 with the fans showing their displeasure, the Rangers turned it around with a 4-goal 2nd period. Sean Avery ignited the boys in blue with a gorgeous goal on a penalty shot. On the shot, he completely faked out Mike Smith and roofed a beauty high into the empty net. From there, King Henrik Lundqvist had to make several key saves- especially on Nate Thompson and Marty St. Louis- to keep the Rangers within reach.

Vinny Prospal evened the game on a nice rebound shot with traffic all around the Tampa net. From there, Erik Christensen took over as he scored 2 goals in a row. The first goal was a nice 5-hole shot and the other was very Gaborik-like. It was Gaborik-like in the sense that he got the shot off extremely fast and the quick release surprised Mike Smith. Honestly, that second goal surprised me as well! Christensen should have had the hat trick as he missed 2 glorious opportunities on his next shift. Oh well… who’s complaining? Chris Drury finished off the scoring with an empty netter to make the final score 5-2 in favor of the Rangers.

Some of my observations from the game… first, the bad. How many times are we going to watch the Rangers forget that the game starts when the puck drops in the 1st period? Duh? I just don’t understand it at all. Obviously, the players don’t either. Lastly, there are way too many odd man rushes against the Rangers. If not for some outstanding goaltending by Henrik Lundqvist, the Rangers could have easily been blown out of this game in the 2nd period. Now we’ll focus on the good in this game. I didn’t get to see the win over the Penguins (I was working a Bobcats game), but it sure was nice to see the fight and resiliency that the Rangers showed in Pittsburgh as well as the comeback today. These 2 wins and 4 points will go a long way for the Rangers if they are going to grab a playoff spot. For now, at least, it keeps them close and in decent position to make a good run at it after the Olympic break. Also, isn’t it nice to see the other teams having to be aware of the sudden "toughness" that the Rangers have with (recent acquisition) Jody Shelley, Brandon Prust, and Aaron Voros? It’s been a while, but believe me… teams will take notice if they haven’t already.

Have fun watching the Olympic hockey everyone. But to me, what still counts first is the how the Rangers finish the season… and in 2 weeks or so, we shall find out! Over and out!


greg m said...

between beating the penns and the lightning before the break was big , we needed those points badley.i wasnt as thrilled with the shelly acquisition as some, and just saw it as one dump(brashear)for another, but your right with shelly,prust,and voros im pretty sure teams are going to start thinking twice before running at henry.
seeing avery score that penalty shot he looked like a real goal scorer for a minute it was a sweet shot.
i for one am looking forward to the olympics i think it will give some needed rest to the rangers going in to the last couple of weeks.a usa vs canada hockey final would be sweet,but unlikely....

Kotsy's Korner said...

greg m, I honestly was impressed with the Rangers winning 2 games after the letdown against Nashville.

Shelley's a name and they needed a name "Heavyweight". I thought Brashear would have been fine, But time takes it's toll on everyone who plays that roll.

Olympics or not the Rangers must get healthy(Gaborik,Del Zotto)to have any chance at the playoffs.

If it's CANADA/USA I think you know who I'll be cheering...LOL.

RJC said...

Kotsy: Finally some of the team toughness we have spoken of. Still need a big D, but at least the fisticuffs can be handled and even used as a weapon on occasion when needed. Now it's time to get the Graves, Matteaus, Noonans, that can play as well. That should give our pure skill forwards some room. Just too bad it took our captain getting pummeled without response in order to get here!

Kotsy's Korner said...

RJC, Finally! opposing teams will have to tread lightly about the taking liberties with the Rangers.

Having Shelley,Prust,Voros and yes even Avery has suddenly turned a team of kittens into a team of tigers LOL.

I agree with you about the "Big D". It needs to be addressed somewhere in the future. It's a must.

Wrath of Sanity said...

I'm liking the way the Rangers look physically... for once. I'd still like if they had a physical D man, though... like you guys have mentioned above me.

Well, the Rangers are right back in the thick of things... I still want them to make the playoffs since I simply cannot root against them. Hopefully they don't do anything dumb at the deadline is all I hope!

Kotsy's Korner said...

Wrath, I think for the first time in a long time opposing teams will have to think twice when it comes to kicking sand in the Rangers faces.

Rangers will have to play some marvelous hockey when the Olympic break is over to make the playoffs. Can they do it? I believe so, but it won't be easy.

What do you mean by dumb? LOL.

christine said...

I wish they'd stop relying on Lundqvist to win the game for them. Rangers need to get in the game and play some hockey long before third period.

Kotsy's Korner said...

Christine, No one can argue with you on this one. Slow starts have been a problem for them all year and Lundqvist bears the brunt of it.

Time is running out and it has to change.

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