Sunday, December 27, 2009

Rangers finally get the Point – but not the win.

You know that Day After Christmas feeling? No more presents to open. All the mess to clean up. 364 days until next time. You wait for it – you enjoy it – and suddenly it's gone.

Just like our winning streak. The New York Rangers fell to the hated New York Islanders last night, 3-2, in overtime – so at least we got a point.

The Islanders seem to know exactly how to play us. They deny us the puck and make us work really hard for every inch of ice and every second of puck possession. They use their youth against us well. And I hate to say this – but they look better coached than us. I'm starting to get this sinking feeling that Tortorella may be a A+ motivator, and even an A+ player evaluator, but no better than a B- strategy guy. When teams adjust to us – it takes a really long time for us to adjust to their adjustments – if you know what I mean.

But we like to stay positive here – especially during the holiday season. So let's think about how the Rangers fought back from a two goal deficit to tie the game in the final minute, send the game into overtime, and get a much-needed point.

It was thrilling to watch the Rangers claw their way back with two third period goals. The Dubinsky deflection into the net at 19:13 was the most timely goal of the Rangers season so far and sent the Garden into a joyous pandemonium – for a while, anyway.

Here's the details:

The Goalies: The winning streak was Hank's winning streak. And last night – he was okay – but nowhere near his best. His save percentage was a not-so-good .864%. He faced only 25 shots and let 3 get past him. On the OT goal, he was screened by Staal and the puck deflected off Staal's skate - so it was a very tough shot.

Roloson – who usually plays great against us, stopped 36 of 38 shots, a .947%.
And our Phantom Goalie – Mr. M. T. Nett was perfect again tonight in 45 seconds of ice time.
Seriously though, we outshot the Isles and if Hank had played as well as Rolo, we would have won. We've got to start getting Chad out there.

Special Teams: The Islander short handed goal was a killer. Besides that both teams were 0-3 on the powerplay.

The New Veteran Rangers: Gaborik had 25 minutes of ice time, 5 shots, minus 2. Not a good night for the gifted one – but he was guarded pretty closely. In fact, the whole “New Veteran” unit, the guys that usually carry us – were shut out last night. Prospal lost 5 of 8 faceoffs and was -2.

The Kid Rangers: No points for the youngsters, either.

The Returning Rangers: This was the unit that showed up last night – like old times. Dubinsky with two goals and he won an amazing 12 of 16 faceoffs. Assists for Callahan, Drury, and 2 for Rozsival. And some tough active play from Seanny.

Defense on Offense: Two assists for this unit.

In Conclusion: We outshot them 38-22. We outhit them 36-30. Our faceoff wins were 33-22. And we lost. You can draw your own conclusions. Still, a point is a point.
Next Up: We're off until Wednesday – when we face the Philadelphia Flyers at home.
Where We Stand: We're back in 9th place.
Lookout Below - for my 11 year-old son Puck Junior's take on last night's game

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