Monday, March 23, 2009

Not Lundqi's Fault

My 10 year old son, Pucks-Junior, whose school-night bedtime spared him from having to witness the painful-to-watch 3rd period last night, woke up this morning asking, (in that hopeful manner of young kids): "Did they win?"

When I gave him the bad news (Rangers lost 2-1) he had one piece of analysis to offer:

"Not Lundqi's fault!"

("Lundqi”, of course, being Pucks-Junior's spontaneous nickname for Henrik Lundqvist).

There's more analysis I might offer, but Pucks-Junior basically said it all. Give Henrik 3 goals and you will almost always get a Ranger win (and we've got the t-shirt to prove it). Post him just one, like we did last night, and you're in for an ugly night.

Sometimes you just run into a buzz saw. The Senators have been on an unreal streak - winning 9 of 10 and who just smothered and wore down the Rangers - who showed some fatigue from having played the night before. (Of course, Ottawa played Saturday also - but it was just against the 'slanders - so it amounted to little more than a practice scrimmage)

Nugs had mentioned that Rosival seemed to disappear on Saturday - well on Sunday he disappeared for real - exiting with a dangerous looking leg injury and leaving the Blueshirt with just 5 defensemen to combat Ottawa with.

Logic says the (now) 11th place Senators are out of it - but if they keep playing as well as that have - 8th place may not be out of their reach.

You saw what I saw last night. Ottawa was relentless - giving the Rangers little time or space to run their offense.

Our guys battled though - and had a chance or two to get at least a 2nd goal. And the sad part is - we outshot Ottawa 13-4 in the third period but got outscored 1-0. Henrik's 3rd period save percentage was just 75 percent (which is actually up from his 60% third period save percentage on Saturday - but still very un-Lundqvist-like). Is it my imagination or is he tiring as the game wears on?

We were perfect again on the Penalty Kill (3 for 3). But the Ranger Power Play was the difference tonight - we were a debilitating 0 for 6, and our extra-man attempts had trouble generating momentum or even shots. That failure cost us the win. One more goal and we would have grabbed at least a point - maybe a pair of them.

Still - 4 wins in 5 games is not bad. But it was a huge opportunity lost. 2 points would have jumped us to 5th place and put the Line O Death a little more comfortably in the rear view mirror.

At least now Lundqi and the guys have a day to rest and reload for Tuesday's match against Minnesota.

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