Sunday, January 31, 2010

Almost the best goal of the season.

Okay – there's plenty of bad here. We are now one of those teams that the opposition plays their backup goalie against. We lost our 5th straight game in regulation. We tumbled out of a playoff spot as “the clump” of teams in the Eastern Conference playoff race have overtaken us.


We stormed back from a 3-0 deficit against a good team on the road. Gaborik scored again. Avery scored again. We outshot Phoenix 12-3 in the final period. And at 18:34 – with the Ranger's Shorthanded (Rozsival penalty – don't even ask) after Callahan's shot was deflected – Marian Gaborik swung his stick - swatted the puck out of mid air – beat LaBarbera – but....

So close. Almost Gaborik's best Ranger goal of the season. Almost a huge comeback against huge odds. Almost a massive season-changing event.

But no. The shot clanged iron. LaBarbera pounced on it. The Rangers lost. Again.

The Goalies: We did start Chad. Finally. All it took was massive case of stomach flu for Henrik Lundqvist. Chad Johnson – in his 3rd ever NHL start – had a rough start but steadied the ship and kept us in the game. He had to face an unfair amount of odd man rushes – particularly early on – but his numbers ended up okay. He made 21 saves on 24 shots for a respectable .875 save percentage. He also got some valuable experience. Chad is going to get better if we just keep playing him. And we need to give Lundqvist rest – even when he's not half dead with a stomach virus.

The Coyote's LaBarbera stopped 24 of 26 shots for a .923 save percentage. The difference was that one shot that hit the post....

Special Teams: The good: We stopped Phoenix on 7 powerplay attempts. The bad: We committed 7 penalties that gave them 7 powerplays including the come-back killing high stick from Staal on Petr Prucha at 18:05. The Ugly: we were 0-3 on our own powerplay attempts – when a single goal would have changed the game in our favor.

The New Veteran Rangers: Gaborik scored! And he nearly got us an acrobatic game-tying goal with 2 minutes to go. Christensen got an assist.

The Kid Rangers? Anisimov won 6 of 8 faceoffs. Del Zotto had 3 hits and was -1. The under-rated Gilroy blacked 2 shots.

The Returning Rangers: SEAN! Avery scored. And Dubinsky had an assist.

Defense on Offense: Nothing. And too many odd-man rushes against by the way. Not fair for a rookie goalie.

In Conclusion: I'll take the hopeful signs. The comeback. The signs of life. The almost best goal of the season. And Chad looked better as the game went on. I think we need to keep playing the kid – give Hank some time off – it helps us get better both ways. And the way Hank looked last night – like he was about to pass out – we may see the kid again tonight.

Next Up: No time off. Five straight losses. Franchise goalie sick. If it feels like an avalanche is falling on us – it is. Tonight we face the Colorado Avalanche on the road at 8pm local time.

Where We Stand: I don't want to look. But I will. “The Clump” has caught us. So we fall from 8th to 12th. 2 points out of 5th. 1 point out of 13th. The only bright note – we still lead the Islanders.

1 comment:

  1. The "come-back killing high stick ... on Petr Prucha at 18:05" was committed by everyone's favorite defenseman: Michal Rozsival