Saturday, October 31, 2009

A Wild Loss – Ranger Recap

Ugh. You can be sure the Wild had this game circled on the calendar from the moment we got Gaborik as a free agent. Even without him in the lineup (and the Wild felt right at home with him on the injured list) Minnesota was psyched to beat us – and beat us they did.

The Goalies: Again – we might as well have rested Hank. But to his credit – Lundqvist played well enough to win. It is not often that the losing goalie has a better save percentage on the night than the winning goalie – but that is what happened here. Hank stopped 29 or 32 shots for a .916. Backstrom also played well – stopping 18 of 20 for a .900 save percentage. Not quite as good as Lundqvist – but good enough to win. So the Goalies were not the difference – it was the shots allowed.

Special Teams: We were marginally better here. We killed 3 penalties and the Wild killed 2. But we didn't score on the powerplay – which would have made a huge difference here. And credit the Wild for committing only 2 penalties.

The New Veteran Rangers without Gaborik are down one huge player. Prospal had an assist on Marc Staal's goal. And that was it.

The Kid Rangers for the second straight game had a straight-from-the minors goal. This time a second period 18 foot wristshot from Dane Byers. And Anis was plus 2 on the night with an assist – hard to do in a loss.

The Returning Rangers gave us assist from Redden and Staal.

Defense on Offense: As just mentioned – 2 assists from Marc and Wade. No shots from Teen Ranger (Del Zotto).

In Conclusion: for some horrible reason two teams that haven't beat anyone in regulations have managed to beat us. We're not scoring enough. And we're giving up too many chances. It's really hard to win when you're outshot 32 to 20. That's 5 shots on goal in the first period. 8 shots in the second. And trailing in third we managed only 7 shots on net. You can't win like that – especially against Backstrom who has some skills between the pipes.

We've lost 5 out of 6 now. Suddenly, we stink. Of course – without Gaborik and Avery we are not the same hockey team. Let's hope their respective knees recover soon.

Next Up: The Dreaded Sunday Matinee. Boston Bruins at the Garden. Puck drops 1pm. At least it will be intimate – with the Giants and Jets on at the same time – you guys and me may be the only people watching.

Back in the morning with the Pregame.

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