Thursday, January 7, 2010

Avery - getting paid by both teams - has a double-good night

See that? Your faithful Ranger reporter Dave Pucks outrageously predicted a 4-2 win for our offense-challenged Rangers last night, and sure enough the Blueshirts got out to a 4-2 lead and then added Callahan's empty-netter to go one better.

A great night in the Garden: The Rangers got a 2nd straight home win for the first time in 2 months, defeating the Dallas Stars 5-2 in a contest dominated by Dave Puck's favorite Ranger: Sean Avery.

SEAN! He was a force of nature last night - seeking revenge in his first game against his former teammates. Dallas had signed Sean last year - but then kicked him off the team for making vulgar remarks about a former girlfriend to the press. As a result - the Stars ended up playing half his salary and the Rangers pay the other half. So last night - both employers got to see Sean earning his paycheck - with a goal, 3 assists, lots of disruption, great skating, plenty of pushing and shoving, 4 hits, 16 shifts, and a slew of penalties - both committed and drawn (from the Stars).

And the Rangers had a second big night of scoring by guys not named Gaborik. Now, The Gifted One did score, but he almost always does. The big deal is that the Rangers added 4 other goals to Gabby’s and gave Henrik Lundqvist all he needed to win - and then some.

The Goalies: A good strong game for the King as he starts to gear himself up for the Olympics. Hank saved 25 of the 27 shots that came his way. And the two that got by were tough ones. The 2nd and final Stars goal was a perfect deflection - but for some reason if was Ranger Captain Chris Drury who did it.

Dallas' Turko only faced 24 shots, but only stopped 20 of them. So Hank was the difference last night.

Special Teams: Our Penalty Kill Unit was again spectacular. Dallas had 6 PowerPlay chances - including some 5-3 time - and the Rangers shut them down. Our PowerPlay had its troubles - but did connect on 1 of our own 6 chances. So we dominated here too.

The New Veteran Rangers: Gaborik was back on the board with a nasty laser-like backhander shot that beat Turko. But Gabs also had help tonight. Kotalik blasted the cannon and found the net for the 2nd straight game. And Christensen is suddenly hot as well and contributed an assist.

The Kid Rangers: Gilroy had an assist.

Your Returning Rangers were led by SEAN AVERY who played his best game of the season. He was all over the ice and played smart, disciplined hockey – there was not one sloppy second of ice time that I could see (Editor – knock it off) (Dave Pucks: Sorry)

Anyway, what I was saying is that Avery had a hand in the first 4 Ranger goals. His goal in the first tied the game at one - a great sprint and slapshot. And then he had assists on each of the next 3. His feed to Gaborik was perfect – I wish he’d get the chance to do that more often. His Pass-shot to Drury for the tip-in was beautiful as well. And a nice feed to Kotalik for the cannon blast.

Callahan also scored for this unit - the empty netter. Drury had the two tip-ins (one for the Stars unfortunately). And a good night for the Salary Cap Crushers: Redden had an assist and Rozsival had two. (I must point out however that Rozy managed to be -2 on the night.)

Defense on Offense? A big yes. 4 assists for the back liners.

In conclusion: Can you feel that small bud of hope growing in your soul? I can. There's a long way to go - and we haven't been beating great teams - but things are looking better in Ranger-land than they've looked in a while.

If we keep playing defense, goaltending, and scoring - there may be a real upside to this season.
Where we stand:
Still in 7th place, 2 points above Montreal (with 2 games at hand) and one point behind 6th place Ottawa.
Next Up: We’re right back at it again tonight – on the road against the Atlanta Thrashers. John Tortorella – we plead and implore you – start Chad Johnson!


  1. First of all, only saw third but from what I saw they looked pretty good. Beautiful spin move from Avery on the Drury goal, I wish every team had shunned him like the Stars did. Hank has allowed 2 or less in 13 of 16 which is a good sign even if some of them are late goals. I like that Kotalik seems to be playing with more of an edge even though he did get an uncalled for penalty and nearly another for a crosscheck. Christiansen has looked good and really should have had another goal except for the same by Robidas.

  2. Hi Mike. Avery was his best self against Dallas. It was wonderful to see. Hank has been playing better. And Christensen is doing remarkably well for a Waiver Wire guy. I just wish Kotalik could raise the rest of his game to the level of that monster shot of his. Thanks for the comment and keep them coming.