Thursday, December 24, 2009

4 in a Row Ho Ho

Well thank you, Santa. The New York Rangers, who just last week looked lost, have now won four straight games and have skated their way back into the playoff picture.

I had predicted a 4-2 win last night but the Rangers did me one better - winning 4-1 over the Florida Panthers for their first home win in 6 tries - dating back to November.

Keith Ballard, who famously hit his own goalie while swinging his stick in anger back in November – managed to steer clear of Vokoun tonight but did knee our goalie Henrik Lundqvist in the head. Lundqvist appears to be fine and played well before and after the blow. Sean Avery did cause some trouble around the Panther’s goal as well – but that’s true every night.

Credit your goaltender with yet another win – as the Rangers were outshot, outhit, out face-offed (you know what I mean) had more give aways and less takeaways than Florida – but beat them convincingly none-the-less.

Anyway, on to the Holiday Recap.

The Goalies: As mentioned, for the 4th straight game we were outshot – and for the 4th straight night we won anyway. And any time that happens – look no further than your goalie for the reason why.

Hank was very sharp again last night, stopping 33 of the 34 shots that came his way. Vokoun, who now has to watch out for his team mate Ballard as much as he does the opposing team, just couldn't keep up - he allowed 4 goals on 32 shots and just couldn't hang with Hank.

Special Teams: We were 1 for 4 on the PowerPlay while Florida was 0 of 4. So another win for this unit.

The New Veteran Rangers: Of course Gaborik scored a goal and had an assist - doesn't he always? But the big news of the night was the sudden reappearance of Vaclav Prospal for two goals after a long scoring drought. Lisin had an assist.

The Kid Rangers did not make the box score tonight.

Your Returning Rangers had a very good night, however. The Captain's pride keeps driving him forward ever since his demotion to the 4th line. Drury notched his 3rd goal in 4 games - the goal that got us even at 1-1. And Drury had an assist as well. Avery, Callahan, Dubinsky and Staal each contributed an assists of their own.

Defense on Offense? One assist for this unit

In conclusion: This is no dead man's bounce. The Rangers are playing better - in goal - on offense - on defense - and special teams. And so we have a little hope as we go to Christmas Break.

And from Dave Pucks, Mrs. Pucks, Pucks Jr. And the whole Pucks family - Merry Christmas and happy holidays to you and your family.
Where we stand -
Look at that - we've jumped to 8th place – and back in the playoff seeding.
Next Up: Christmas! And a little bit of rest. Just one game in the next six days – a Saturday night home ice match up with the hated Islanders.

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