Sunday, October 25, 2009

Recap: To Hab and Hab Not - Montreal beats us 5-4 in OT for third straight loss

Opening Face Off: Look boys and girls – at least it wasn't boring. This was a fast paced, fun-to-watch hockey game. It's just the final score we didn't like too much. Montreal, in their own building, played well, skated well, and met us fore-check for fore-check. Tortorella's (“safe is death”) system (where the defensemen are 4th and 5th forwards) is going to produce chances for both sides – and last night it truly did. The Rangers offense did fine - striking for four goals – but all it did was get us to overtime – and an eventual 5-4 loss. The team defense let up a number of odd man rushes and left Hank all alone out there too many times – getting him run over and hurt in the process. Coach Johnny T realized this and was benching players left and right for sloppy play – but in the end you have to put someone out there and we're just not going to win a lot of games where we let up 5 goals.

The Goalies: Hank was put under some heavy pressure at times. And Montreal seemed to know how to go after him in OT – high on the glove side – for the game winner. We gave up a lot of chances – we put Hank under heavy fire – and three times he was flattened by men in the crease – once clearly hurting our Superstar as Hank was face down on the ice in pain for several terrifying seconds before getting back up. On a night King Henrik stopped 26 of the 31 shots he faced, an un-Hank-like .839 save percentage. For the Habs, Halak stopped 23 of 27 shots for an.852 percentage. So we'd have to give Halak the edge last night – but it was close. (I wish they had started Price – we'd have won 6-4).

Still – for the first time all season we got 3 goals for Hank (in fact four goals for Hank) without winning. Let's hope that was an aberration. (Editor – that means Dave Puck's hopes it is something that won't happen again)

Special Teams: We were 0 for 2 on the power-play last night and killed 3 of 4 penalties – the lone exception was Mike Cammallaeri's 2nd goal of the night. Of course – if we had broken even here – we would have won the game. On the year, our power-play has been running at 26.1% success rate, and we've killed off 85.2% of the shorthanded situations we've faced.

The New Kid Rangers did well. Michael Del Zotto – this kid is juts amazing – had yet another assist. Anisimov – from the 4th line no less – had a great goal – a seeing-eye shot from a tough angle reaching back across the end line.. And Gilroy had a great goal from the point. G-Rot got the puck on the right side and slide left get a better angle and increase his chances and just buried it in the back of the net.

The New Veteran Rangers – the guys Torts and Sather brought in this year - were again the main contributors. Gaborik got us another goal and an assist. He has been a godsend this year. Prospal, Kotalik and Lisin had assists. Another "pointless" night for Higgins though – with his failure to get back on defense on one Montreal goal led to him riding the bench for the whole third period.

The Returning Rangers helped also. Sean Avery had a wonderful assist on Kotalik's blast – a perfect feed from behind the net for the one-timer. Rozsival and Voros each had assist. And Dan Giradri had an assist and was making great plays all over the ice last night – on defense and keeping the puck in the Montreal zone on one goal.

Offensive Defense: And again - the Defense added offense. As a unit they netted one goal and three assists.
Dave Pucks Last Word - the Canadiens gave us a taste of our own gameplan last night. They forechecked us and ended up getting a lot of chances. In a game like this we usually win – because we usually have the better goaltender. But on a night where Hank was good, Halak was just a bit better. The Rangers came out strong, outshot the Habs 12-6 and out scored them 3-1 in the first period, but couldn't finish them off. Touch loss number three and I think you can finally say we are reeling.
Tortorella has pumped up the offense on this team – addressing the major flaw last year – our inability to score. But in the last three games against the Sharks, Devils and now the Candiens, that offense has come at a cost – the loss of defense. If you count empty netters and OT goals (and they do count) we've allowed 16 goals in three contests – and you're not going to win that way.

Next Up: The 6-3 Phoenix Coyotes on Monday night.

No comments:

Post a Comment