Thursday, December 10, 2009

Torts: “We Stunk Tonight” - Hank Awesome but Rangers Still Fall in OT 2-1

That one hurt. The Rangers, getting a superstar performance from their maligned goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, led for most of the contest but ended up losing in Overtime 2-1. They do leave Chicago with a point - but Hank played almost perfectly and still, the Rangers failed to win.

I thought the team battled throughout and played defense, threw checks, and blocked shots to help their goaltender but Coach thought differently. Tortorella called the effort “unacceptable” from everyone other than the goaltender.

The Ranger coach's opinion was that Henrik Lundqvist was “the only one the played” last night – and Hank certainly did play.

All pain aside, it's a point on the road against a very good hockey team. And it's a return to top form for Henrik Lundqvist. But it's also a crushing loss where the Rangers battled hard for 63 minutes and still lost in overtime. A 1-0 lead after two periods was lost in regulation and then the game was lost in OT.

We were outshot 41 to 18. Coming in to the third period with the lead, we only generated one shot in 20 minutes. We gave the Blackhawks five Powerplays and only had one of our own. But the team played hard, blocked shots, hung tough and almost beat a very good hockey team.

So you take the point and try to build on that. That's all we can do.

The Goalies: Hank was magnificent. Hank was as good as he's ever been in his life. Hank outplayed Huet and still lost – something you'll only see a handful of times in your life. Hank had 39 saves. He had a save percentage of .951% while his Blackhawk counterpart only saved 17 shots for a save percentage of .944%.

It was a late goal that tied it – but don't blame Hank for this. It was a powerplay goal where Chicago had several shots from point blank range before finally putting one home.

Lundqvist slammed his stick on the boards as he left the ice in frustration. He sounded despondent in interviews after the game. You have to feel really bad for Hank – because he played well enough to win the game. In fact, with 39 saves he played well enough to win two games.

Special Teams: Our Powerplay was 0-1. But Chicago had 5 chances and scored on one of them. That was all they needed to get the game to OT.

The New Veteran Rangers: Higgins had the only Ranger goal off a great feed from Gaborik during a partial line change. Gabs had an assist on that same play. Only two shots on goal for Gabs.

The Kid Rangers were Pointless. But some good defensive play. Del Zotto was +1 on the night.

The Returning Rangers: Rozy had an assist. Drury blocked 4 shots and did great on the Penalty Kill.

Defense on Offense: One assist for this unit.

In Conclusion: We can't seem to put it all together. When the goalie returns to superstar form – we can't shoot and we can't score.

On the other hand – if you're looking for positives - which I always am - we've seen all of the elements of greatness. Some nights we can score. Some nights we can defend. And some nights our goaltending is stellar. So we just need to start doing it all on the same night.

Best aspect of last night - it was really good to see that the King can still do it.

Another hard loss late in the game – but we do get a point for our efforts. And if we had lasted another 2 minutes - I always like our chances in the shootout.

Next Up: A few days of Christmas shopping and we return home Saturday to play a Sabres team that we beat 2-1 one week prior.
Where We Stand - The point puts us in 9th place, two points behind 8th place Montreal with a game at hand.

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