Monday, December 7, 2009

Lundqvist: "Bad Goal"

"It's a bad goal" admitted a dejected Henrik Lundqvist. And he's right. The back-breaking late goal Hank gave up with 2:03 left in the third period snapped a 1-1 tie with the Detroit Red Wings and squashed whatever momentum the team had gained from their win on Saturday.

And as bad goals go - this was a real stinker. Dan Cleary fired a shot from what should have been an impossible angle. As Hank hugged the post the puck snuck under his leg pad - but not in. And then - like a horror movie - Lundqvist pivoted his leg and inadvertently (Editor: he means "accidentally") pushed the puck in his own net.

The "own goal" (as they call it in soccer) ruined a brilliant 58 minutes by Lundqvist and the Ranger defense. For the 2nd straight night they raised their defensive game - but for the 2nd straight night they gave up a preventable goal late. On Saturday they had a two goal lead and won anyway - but last night the muff turned a game that seemed destined for overtime into a crushing loss on home ice.

In all fairness Hank played great for 58 minutes and it was the 2nd game of a back-to-back. If you're going to see any signs of fatigue from your franchise netminder it will be late in the 2nd game of two straight.

This is, of course, why we need a 2nd goalie we can count on. And we here at Blueshirt Brothers think Chad Johnson should get the shot to be that guy.

After the crushing 2nd goal - the Rangers pulled Lundqvist and an empty netter rounded out the 3-1 final score.

And here's the autopsy (also known as the Recap)

The Goalies: Hank stopped 28 of 30 shots, but was bested by Detroit’s Howard who stopped 28 of 29. And that, right there, was your hockey game.

And it appears our Phantom Goalie: Mr. M. T. Nett (sound it out) was nowhere near as effective as Buffalo's counterpart was on Saturday. Boyle couldn’t score on the empty net Saturday - clanging one off the post - but on Sunday Draper beat Mr. Net cleanly for the final 3-1 margin.

Special Teams: Again - your loss can be pinned right here. The Red Wings scored on one of their three Power Play opportunities, but the Rangers were pointless on all four of their attempts and a Ryan Callahan penalty shot. A tie in this department and we could have sent this game to OT. (And have you noticed that Steve Zipay has now started using our slightly humorous term “Pointless” to describe a player with no goals or assists? Welcome aboard Steve – we love you around here and we are thrilled that you’re checking in)

The New Veteran Rangers supplied what little scoring there was. Bryan Boyle - atoning for missing an empty net Saturday - scored our only goal Sunday - tipping in a shot by Chris Higgins - who may be showing signs of waking up. But notice I wasn't able to mention Marian Gaborik who was smothered by the Red Wing defense and prevented from even shooting the puck in 23:44 minutes of ice time. Waiver-Man Erik Christensen lost 5 of his 7 faceoffs.

The Kid Rangers were pointless, but the defensive play of a backline unit with three rookies has to be commended. (Maybe it’s not too late to put Wade Redden on season-ending Injured Reserve?). Heikkinen played nearly 9 minutes, blocked three shots had 2 hits and had an even plus-minus on the day. Anisimov lost 5 of 8 faceoffs.

Your Returning Rangers also scored nothing. Drury won 14 of 24 faceoffs – the only Ranger Center winning more than 50% of his faceoffs last night. The Captain also blocked three more shots – I’ll bet the poor guy is just covered with nasty puck-shaped welts at this point. Say what you will about Chris – but he works his tail off every night for us out there.

Defense on Offense? Missing in action last night.

In conclusion. If you're looking for silver linings (and I always am) we've been playing much better defense the past few games. But all of a sudden we can't score. And I am thinking we have overworked Henrik Lundqvist too many nights for too many seasons and have finally worn him out.

We here at BlueShirt Brothers say - give Chad Johnson a shot. If Hank gets more rest he'll be a better goaltender again. And I think Chad could be just the change of pace the Rangers need.
If The Season Ended Today - we'd be stunned that the NHL concluded their schedule in December. But more to the point: at 14-14-1 we are clinging to 9th place - tied with the hated Islanders and a few points ahead of a few teams with games at hand.
Next Up: Two much needed days off after the back-to-back games - and then it's an 8:30pm Wednesday night start time on the road against the Chicago Black Hawks.


  1. I believe the oddball start for the Wednesday night is a function of it being an AWAY game in the Central time zone (i.e., Chicago).

    The majority of Blackhawks night games start at 7:30 p.m.

  2. Tony - good catch and thanks for the heads-up. I've fixed it now. It is a road game - not a home game. I appreciate your help and keep those commetns coming.