Thursday, November 26, 2009

Shut Out Win – Shoot Out Win – What's the difference? Happy Thanksgiving!

The Rangers got within 5 minutes of Shut Out win, lost the lead, hung on through overtime and prevailed in the Shoot Out for a hard fought 2-1 road victory over the Florida Panthers. And our heroes wake up on Thanksgiving Day thankful for their first 2 game winning streak since early October.

We dominated play but the game was scoreless for nearly 40 minutes when Marian Gaborik (who else?) redirected a Chris Drury shot (or was it a pass?) behind Florida's Vokoun for a 1-0 lead. Not much of a lead – but the Ranger's nearly made it stand up. They got within five minutes of a shut out when an outlet pass to Sean Avery got caught in his skates, stayed in the Ranger zone – ended up on Dominic Moore's stick and rifled past Lundqvist for a tie game.

Despite the traumatic turnaround – the Rangers hung tough through regulation and OT – failing to score in a 2 minute overtime 4-on-3 powerplay but getting to the Shoot Out. In the Shoot Out Hank was perfect and P. A. Parenteau, looking more like a NHL veteran than a rookie, drifted left and drilled an 18 footer back to the right to beat Vokoun. Moments later Hank put aside the backhander from Steve Weiss and the Rangers had nailed down a road victory. The win was all the more impressive because the Ranger defense played most of the way with 5 men – Wade Redden was injured on a crushing board check by Steve MacIntyre (and come on – let's at least try to feel bad for Redden).

We also saw the Return of Captain Drury from his concussion and two more fights. Punch-man (Brashear) repaid MacIntyre for the Redden hit with a flurry of punches. And Matt Gilroy went after Victor Oreskovich for a nasty hit on Prospal – ending up with 17 minutes of penalties and forcing the Rangers to play with 4 defensemen until late in the OT.

The Goalies: Hank! He kept us in this one and ultimately won it. A .962 Save Percentage, stopping 25 of 26 shots. Vokoun was every bit as good though – stopping 27 of 28 for a .964 Save Percentage. In the OT though, Lundqvist was perfect, Vokoun was not and the Rangers grabbed the victory.

Special Teams: We won this battle. We were 1 for 4 on the PP and 4 for 4 on the PK. That's why we were in a position to win.

The New Veteran Rangers: One regulation goal – and who scored it? Do you even have to ask. Gaborik. Again. Boyle delivered 4 hits. 2 hits and 3 shots for Higgins, who nearly scored a goal as well.

The Kid Rangers won the shoot out and the game thanks to Parenteau - who looks like he'll stick around for a while in the big leagues. Del Zotto played like a pro and really helped when were were down to 4 defenders. He logged 28 minutes of ice time with no goals scored against while he was out there.

The Returning Rangers notched an assist for the returning Captain Chris Drury and 12 huge face off wins. And SEAN stayed in the limelight with an assist and 2 hits. And I know it was just a powerplay – but Avery on the ice with Gaborik seems to be a powerful combination to me.

Defense on Offense: Nothing this time – but playing with 5 and then 4 defensemen – they had their hands full.

In Conclusion: It's hard to beat a team on the road when their goalie is playing as well as Vokoun was – especially when you're short a few defensemen. But with Lundqvist and Gaborik on your team – you have a chance against anybody – and we hung tough and – hey – two in a row. We'll take it.

If you want my 11-year-old son Puck Junior's perspective – we let him stay up late to see the game (it's not a school night after all) please read the post just below this one. Did you notice that he calls me Dave Pucks instead of Dad?

And finally – from Dave Pucks and Pucks Junior and all of us here at BlueShirt Brothers – we wish you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving. Don't eat too much stuffing and if Uncle Bob grabs the last drumstick, please resist the urge to hip check him.

Next Up: We eat too much until we have to unbuckle our pants and lay on the floor moaning. Then it's off to Tampa Bay Friday – followed by Pittsburgh Saturday.
Where We Stand: We wake up on Turkey Day thankful to have 27 points in 7th place in the East. See you all Friday.

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