Well, Well, Well...

Friday, March 26, 2010

Just when you think it’s over for the Rangers, the boys in blue turn around and defy the odds to come back into the NHL’s Eastern Conference playoff race. How? First, they dismantled a New York Islander team at MSG Wednesday by a score of 5-0. I know people will say that they beat a team that has “packed it in” and all that. However, it was a dominant performance in a game where the Rangers really needed the victory. Gaborik was big in this game with 2 goals and 1 assist. Artem Anisimov, Michael Del Zotto, and Dan Girardi all figured in the other tallies for the Rangers. Lundqvist was sharp when needed- stopping 27 shots for his 3rd shutout of the season. If that outcome had any meaning, it would have to show the next night as the Rangers headed over the river to take on their hated rivals, the New Jersey Devils.

The Rangers showed great will and determination by fighting their way through a tough game. With their playoff aspirations on the line, the Rangers pulled through with a dramatic 4-3 shootout victory at “The Rock”. Chris Drury (yes, the Captain!), scored what would turn out to be the goal of the season (if the Rangers were to make the playoffs). With 16.8 seconds left in regulation, Erik Christensen found Drury in front of the net with a feed and Drury buried it to send the game to OT. Wow! That was all I could think as Drury slammed home the “playoff hopes” for the Rangers. From there, both teams had decent chances in OT, but couldn’t capitalize. Onto the shootout we went! Erik Christensen, who played a great game, started the shootout with a fantastic goal. The goal took replay to confirm, but the move he made on Brodeur was beautiful. That, my friends, turned out to be the game winner as King Henrik stopped all 3 attempts by the Devils. The Rangers left the Rock with what could be the most pivotal win of the season. I know it won’t be easy, but the Rangers have a chance (and a good one at that) to make the playoffs. 6 games on the road, 2 at home- with all the teams being played being very beatable. While on the flipside, Boston, Philly, and Atlanta all have much tougher schedules to contend with! There’s a song that I used to listen to when I was a teenager and still do… it’s by guitarist Johnny Winter, “Still Alive and Well”. The Rangers are still alive, the well part is yet to be determined… stay tuned!

I did attend both of the past two games and I met some really good people on both nights (Thanks to our good friend, Larry “Ratso” Sloman)! My wife Lisa and I had the great fortune to meet and hang out with Peter Criss of the Kiss fame. That’s right! Kiss! We also met Rob Echeverria (Helmut and Biohazard), a guitarist who is a die-hard Rangers fan. Peter was at his 1st ever NHL game at MSG according to Rob. I think we have a new hockey fan! Fantastic time in meeting them! We shall meet up again.

In New Jersey, the wife and I were privileged to attend the game as guests of two good friends: Jeremy and Lori Lont. They invited us to witness the Devils/Rangers game in a luxury suite. We had a fun time, of course. We also had fun talking hockey with Jeremy’s brother, Josh. Although on this night we were surrounded by Devils fans, it was a great night all around! Over and out!


The Dark Ranger said...

At the very least, we are being treated to some damn good hockey -- and even if fate gets us into the playoffs or gives us a pass, it is refreshing to see them pushing themselves and showing us a little 'care'.

A win at The Rock is always a pleasure too. Good stuff Kots...


greg m said...

this looks a little like the team that started the season, well the last 2 games anyway.and leave it to the rangers to string us along to the final buzzer to see if there going to make the playoffs.i dont know what happened the last 60 or so games, but i had fun watching them beat the isles and devils.im originally from newark and cringe when i hear sammy say "LIVE FROM NEWARK NJ NHL HOCKEY" to funny!

GENO said...

Chris, why has the NORTH / SOUTH STYLE of hockey taken this long to penetrate through our boy's heads? I am also glad that Torts is giving the 4th line some important minutes. In my opinion, that line changed the momentum of the game in the 2nd period with some fierce fore checking, and psychical play, with a touch of scoring from Artimisanov (2 gms in a row)At this time of the year you need all 4 lines & special teams to to working. I am also glad to see that Torts isn't pulling back on Avery's reigns, before & during the game. It seems the real Avery has awoken, SO LET HIM BE !! The boys have to take 1 game at a time, and just take care of what they can control. They must keep up the NORTH AMERICAN style of hockey and play AGGRESSIVE - HUNGRY - DESPERATE HOCKEY !!

Kotsy's Korner said...

Dark, You are so dead on! It just go's to show what sometimes is capable of this team.

You have to like how they pulled the rabbit out of the hat and stole the win from the Devils at the Rock.

Kotsy's Korner said...

greg m, It was a wonderful sight to see in person(Thanks to some super Devil friends) as the Rangers somehow stole the game in Jersey. I was there and trust me if they lost that game it would have been over.

Now they have a decent shot at making the playoffs. It won't be easy, but when has it for the Rangers this year?.

Kotsy's Korner said...

Geno, It's very simple, play hard and physical and see what happens? The 4th line was superb last night.

You and I know it you have leave Avery alone and let him be whatever he want's to be on the ice. Good Sean, Bad Sean it is what it is.

The fighting chance you talked about is there for the taking.

Jason said...

The Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde season for the Rangers continues. You truly never know what team would take the ice at any given moment. It is wonderful to see them blow out the Islanders, no matter how woeful that team was on Wednesday night. Knocking off the Devils is also a pleasure in its own right, regardless of playoff implications. Not to start complaining, but there were too many breakdowns last night. How often can other teams have odd man rushes or breakaways before the goals against start coming in droves? Henrik was great on those last night. I still think he slightly lost his position on the Langenbruner shot, or, most likely, was a little too deep in net. Regardless, he saved the Blueshirts' bacon yet again and was one of the main reasons (if not the main reason), the team won.

Adjustments need to be made. Redden still looks lost, as does Gilroy at times. The latter can improve, given time and experience. The former should not see any NHL action. What was that line change before Langenbrunner scored? This should not happen to an NHL team, especially the one trying to get points. You could smell that goal coming as soon as the two Rangers caught by the bench let the puck go. Would it not make more sense to touch the puck and risk a penalty call than allowing the puck to bounce to an oncoming forward with a clear path to the goal?

In any event, how ridiculous did Christensen make Brodeur look on that shootout attempt? Not that shootouts are any indication, but Brodeur is a liability for the Devil and has been for years (you won't see me complaining). There are now many goaltenders who are capable of making remarkable saves on occasion. However, what separates the best from the others is the ability to make a save (not necessarily spectacular) at the right time. Brodeur does not seem to be capable of doing that consistently (see game 7 against Carolina last year or the Olympics). I am not sure he ever really was, as his stats would suggest. Had Brodeur played behind some of the Ranger teams from 1998 to 2004, I doubt we would be talking all-time records in wins or shutouts. I know it is a tired old argument, but I believe it to be true. Just like production of some players is a function of their environment (see Kevin Stevens with the Penguins and Michael Renberg with the Flyers), so is the play in goal. I am not suggesting Brodeur is no good, simply that he is not great. In fact, I would take Henrik, Roy, or Hasek (before he was way over the hill with Ottawa and the second Red Wings stint) over Brodeur on any given night.

What was the look on the faces of your friends in the box last night when Drury scored? I bet something like "here we go again".

Well, what the Rangers need to do is to do it again, and again, and again, and again . . . . Hopefully they can without taking their foot off the gas pedal as the level of their competition will drop off a bit until the home and home with the Flyers. We'll be watching.

Kotsy's Korner said...

Jason, I couldn't agree with you more on the up and down season the Rangers have had. Beating the Islanders and the Devils was huge. At the very least they have given themselves a fighting chance.

Watching the game up close against the Devils I would have to agree that there were far to many odd man chances and the defensive spacing was terrible. Hockey IQ anyone?

I thought Lundqvist definitely could have moved out further to take more of an angle away on Langenbrunner's goal. Other than that he was simply marvelous in the net for the Rangers.

When I saw the line change I thought what the F... was that. Terrible!

Christensen's move on Marty was so sick it fooled everyone in the building and I mean everyone.

Jason it's okay to disagree, But I think Brodeur is deserving of his place in the NHL. In my mind he's earned it.

Now the friends of mine in the suite who are rabid Devils fan's and great people, Well they looked like they got hit by a 2 by 4. They couldn't believe what just happened and honestly neither could I LOL.

The Ranger players have put themselves back in to the playoff picture. They and only they can decide their fate now.

B.J. McSitteer said...

It may have taken a while, but like I was saying, have a little faith in the schedule and eventually the numbers will add up. True, they're still a few points out but now it's in their favour. Just got some tickets for Saturday's tilt with the Leafs, it just keeps getting more exciting. Lucky for you and the other Ranger fans, it's Giguere's turn to play. Too bad though, I think a battle of the two Olympic Swede goalies might be something special.

Meeting the "Cat" must have been really cool, I hope you didn't sing "Beth" to him LOL

B.J. McSitteer said...

Looks like I'm getting my wish. Just got the word that the Monster is going to play, awesome

Kotsy's Korner said...

B.J McSitteer. First off meeting Peter and Rob was awesome. Really cool people. The Rangers have some how found a way to fight for a playoff spot. You have to like that.

Taking on the Leafs will be formidable task as the Leafs are playing very good at this moment. I'm sure the Goal tending will be a huge factor in this game and maybe a Shelley/Orr rematch just for fun?.

Enjoy the game as I will be in my chair eagerly anticipating this battle.

Leatherneck said...

Hello Chris, personally I would rather see us in a beter draft position than in the playoffs with one series and out..sure anything can happen..once in...frankly I dont see us capable of making noise in the playoffs..this team lacks chemistry..so a top 10 draft pick to me is more of value..as well as trading and adding another 1st rounder at the trade deadline..simply put..let the growing pains take its course as it has with the supreme teams..ie...sharks..devils..pens and caps..remember they all used to be bottom feeders at one time?

Kotsy's Korner said...

Leatherneck, Most would agree with you that it's the right thing to do. I just know and I think you know it too that it's hard for player to think that way.

You play to win no matter what the repercussions are. Yes it would be nice to have a top 10 pick. Anything can happen once your in history proves this.

I personally couldn't go out on the ice and think about that. I don't think you could either. It's about been told to fail, not in my book.

Leatherneck said...

I know..as a former Marine I fully understand that....my comment is..its ok to look to the future of the team as a fan..that even if we dont make the playoffs its not all that bad..the roller coaster ride means life..on the heart machine,,the stability / straight line is death..the rangers been doing that since we won the cup..flat lining..thats what i am saying

Kotsy's Korner said...

Leatherneck, I hear you loud and clear. The future is important, until this season is over then we should worry about it.

Leatherneck said...

Hey Chris, so are we a playoff team or should we become a layoff team..theres a few players who need a layoff..one question...how did Gilroy get a spot over Potter? do you get a spot based on your salary?..haha..why is he not getting the real deal look from the Rangers?..few games i saw him play..kid has talent

Kotsy's Korner said...

Leatherneck, That's a good question about Potter...I can't figure it out myself. Money sometimes plays a big factor.

Mathematically their still in it. So I guess they are a playoff team until otherwise.

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