Monday, October 26, 2009

Gamenight Tonight: Rangers Reeling as they Face Phoenix

Opening Remarks: Yes, now we can officially call it "reeling". Their 7 game winning streak a distant memory, your New York Rangers have lost three straight games – giving up 7, 4, and 5 goals in the process. Our biggest concern last year was offense – but this year – under Tortorella's new system – we are scoring goals. The problem these last three games is that we're letting up more goals than we are scoring.

I like Tort's system. It makes sense to me to forecheck and put pressure on the opposition. It makes sense to create chances for both sides – because you've got the better goalie in Hank most nights. What is not making sense to me is how many goals we are giving up. It seems like our defensemen are being groomed and trained to score goals and help the offense – which is good – but the defense also needs to – you know – play defense.
Okay – on with the Preview:
Who The Hell Are We Playing? The Phoenix Coyotes are 6-3-1 which is currently good enough for the 8th and final seed in the Western Conference. They are 3-1 on the road. Hank has beaten them the last two times we faced them.
Primary Skaters: The “yotes” are led by the 9 points of RW 33 year old Shane Doan (3 G's, 6 A's). Radim Vrbata may be missing a vowel or two in his last name, but he's leading Phoenix with 4 goals.

In Net: Speaking of vowel-challenged players, the Coyotes feature goalie Ilya Bryzgalov ( I wonder if Ilya even knows what a Coyote is?). Bryzgalov (the only name I can think of with the last 2 letters of the alphabet in order) has an impressive 1.59 goals against average and a .933 save percentage. As hard as it is for me to write this – those stats dominate Lundqvist who lets in a goal per game more at 2.68 GAA and .913 save percentage.
Scoring & Defense: The Coyotes score 2.67 goals a game but are only letting up 1.89. They are winning 3-2 and 2-1 games. We, of course, score a goal more than they do at 3.73 per. And we let up one more goal than they do at 2.82. So the best units on the ice tonight will be our offense and Phoenix's defense.

Special Effects: The Coyotes are scoring on the PP at a 22% rate (we are better at 26.1%). The Phoenix PK succeeds 77.8% (and again we are better at 85.2%). So Specials tilt toward the Blueshirts.

Scheduling Conflicts: Phoenix won in Detroit Thursday 3-2 and lost Saturday night 5-3 to the Kings. We lost Thursday and Saturday to the Devils and Habs. So the amount of rest is about equal – but the Coyotes have some older players than we do.
Probable Lines: Uh... no comment.

Torts has ripped up his lines chart and is running guys out there based on how the last 20 seconds of their last shift seemed to be going. On Saturday he benched both Dubinsky and Higgins in the 3rd period – hopefully he'll keep enough players out of the doghouse to field more than 2 lines tonight.

On Defense: There's only 6 guys. They'll all play. Usually rookies Del Zotto and Gilroy play with the overpriced vets Redden and Rozsival, but Coach has been shaking that up too.
In Goal: No way Valiquette gets a start now. Maybe the next game against the Islanders. But I think we will start Hank until he either wins or gets run over enough times to cause an injury

Dave Puck Predicts: We're slumping. Tortorella doesn't like losing and doesn't take these little bumps in the road in stride. He is going to demand better play from this team. He gets mad and he lets the press know it. He humiliates players who don't play hard or don't think on the ice. I think all this is good – but if the Rangers don't get a victory soon I think John is going to have a stroke. I sure hope we can get it going tonight.

My prediction (always for a win) is Rangers 3-2. But that will take a little more defense than we've seen for a while.

I'll be back with some post game tonight and a fuller recap in the morning. Let's Go Rangers!

No comments:

Post a Comment