Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Maybe the Jokinen is on us

Opening night for the New Look Rangers ended up looking a whole lot exactly like our last few losses. We played defense pretty well with a few stunning lapses - our Penalty Kill was awesome – our our powerplay was terrible – we couldn't score much – we tried to come back. And we lost to the Kings 2-1.

Olli Jokenin in his Ranger debut was minus 2 on the night. The guy did have to play the day before and travel and get used to a new team. He launched 4 shots on goal, had 4 hits and won 6 of 8 faceoffs. He also gave the puck up 3 times.

And (the other Brandon) Brandon Prust was a checking, fighting demon out there. 7 minutes of ice time - 19 minutes in penalties. You certainly knew the young man was out there – and you can't question his courage. Tortorella may not like all the penalties – but I'll bet he likes Prust's attitude and will work with him.

Would Higgins and Kotalik have changed the outcome in a positive way? No. I like the trade and I think it will work better as time goes on.

Oh – and two more times we HIT THE POST.

The Goalies: Hank returns. Hank was treated to a breakaway by Kopitar which would be hard for anyone to stop. On the night Lundqvist faced only 21 shots – but two of them squirted by for a .905 save percentage and a loss. US Olympic goalie Jim Quick only saw 12 shots in the first 2 frames and only 21 overall. He saved 20 of them for a .952 save percentage and a win.

Special Teams: Our Penatly Kill was again amazing. And our freakin' PowerPlay cost us the friggin game. Not only did we not score on three attempts – we let up a catastrophic shorthander to the King;s best player that cost us the hockey game.

The New Veteran Rangers: You can't get newer than Jokinen. We already talked about him up top – but he's a big guy – good skater – good shot – and should do some good for us once he gets some time in with the team. And Gaborik scored again! He's scored 5 of our last 6 goals now.

And Christensen got the assist – making me wonder if Jokinen may be better off on line 2.

The Kid Rangers? Do I put Prust here? It's his first full hockey season as an NHL player. As mentioned – the kid has a motor and some toughness.

The Returning Rangers: Redden had an assist. In fact Redden and Girardi were +1. Can we say Redden played well? That can't be right. Oh, and Chris Drury seems almost utterly lost out there.

Defense on Offense: An assist.

In Conclusion: We came close tonight – and we were playing a very good and very hot team on the road. I like the trade. I think it will get better as the guys practice together and start to mesh. I think Jokinen may be better off on line 2. And I think we should start Chad Johnson in goal every 3 or 4 games.
Next Up: The boys come home to face the hated Capitals on Thursday.

Where We Stand: That damned clump. One loss – and now we're out of the playoffs in 10th . But we're still tied in points for 8th and just 3 points out of 13th.

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