Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year – Rangers enter a new decade on a 1 game winning streak

So – what exactly did we see here last night? The Rangers played the Carolina Hurricanes (the worst team in the NHL) - outshot them 35 to 18, and - thanks to three shots that hit the post or crossbar behind Lundqvist – and a goal waved off – beat them 2-1.

It was a win we needed and a win we got – but it was also a long way from impressive.
Still, all you can do is play who's on the schedule - and a win is a win. And coming one day after their worst and most listless loss of the season – the Rangers played with some heart and determination and got the two points – their 11h points out of a possible 14 in their last seven games.

And here's the recap:

The Goalies: Lundqvist's save percentage was .944%, thanks to a disallowed goal and the clangers. Cam Ward's save percentage was .943%. And to be fair he had a goal waved off as well. But we did not win this game at the goalie position. We won because Cam faced 17 more shots than Hank did. And this is the first time in along time that the Rangers both (1) outshot someone AND (2) won.

Special Teams: We were 1 of 3 on the PP and 4 of 5 on the PK. And what really happened is that both sides cashed in on their 5-on-3 advantages. But it was the lone even-strength goal that decided the match

The New Veteran Rangers: It's more fun to wrote these sections when the team actually scores. Marian Gaborik – who was caught by Ovechkin for the NHL's most goals – was able to assist on both Ranger tallies. Waiver-Man (Christensen) was promoted to Line One by Tortorella and responded with a big night – a goal and an assist. Can he work out to be a Good Move By Glen Sather? And Cannon Kotalik had his best game in a long time – getting an assist and using his massive shot to good advantage on the powerplay. 5 hots for Brian Boyle.

The Kid Rangers: Again – the youngsters were pointless. No shots for Del Zotto or Gilroy. Anisimov had one shot in nearly 13 minutes of ice time but won 5 of 6 faceoffs.

The Returning Rangers: Dubinsky bounces back from a sloppy game with a goal and a +1 night. And his goal was what George Bush used to call “the decider”.

Defense on Offense: At least they played defense this time – but no offense from this unit last night.

In Conclusion: This game was won by limiting Carolina to 5 shots in the first period , 7 in the second and 6 in the third. Cam Ward made 35 saves to Hank's 17 – so this was a rare night where the team won it for the goaltender. I still say we need to get Chad Johnson some starts – for Hanks sake - and to see what the new kid can do.
Next Up: Our first game of the year is a 1pm matinee on Saturday against the same guys we just faced: Carolina. And remember – that new year's Day classic will be today – unless they get a rainout in Fenway.

Where We Stand: Happy New Year folks – as the new decade begins we find ourselves in 8th place – playoff position - with 42 points. But we're also just 2 points out of 12th places as Philly, Atlanta, Tampa Bay, and the Islanders each have 40. Above us in 7th place, the Canadiens have 3 more points than us but have played 3 more games to get them.

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