Thursday, March 11, 2010

Finnish Forward Finally Finds First Line - but Falls to Foes

I like to start with a little good news - even on a real bad news day. Yes - we lost our 4th game in a row - by a score of 6-3 to our hated rivals the NJ Devils. But there was one thing I liked:

The Rangers (finally) put their Finnish first line center - Olli Jokinen on the first line. It seems so obvious – but it certainly took long enough to happen. When we first brought Gaborik in here - this Blog received several comments to the effect that - without a first line center to give him the puck - Gaborik would be a waste of talent and money. That has already been disproved - Gabby has shown he can score just fine with Vinnie Prospal. But I was very interested to see what our only legitimate first line players - Marian and Olli - can do together. The short term results - their line got a goal (for Vinnie) and nearly got another when Marty robbed Olli from close range with his stick. Let's hope Tortorella keeps this unit together for a while. Because with 80 percent of the season gone - isn't it a little late to keep scrambling the lines every night?

Okay - that was the more or less positive stuff. Here's the rest of it:

What is happening to Henrik Lundqvist? And what is happening to our Rangers. At the every moment we need to put on our playoff push - we are collapsing.

This game hurt. We've lost 4 in a row now - against some elite teams - but you are what your record says you are - and right now we are a non-playoff team that is reeling down the stretch.

There was a time where, if you scored three goals for Henrik Lundqvist - it was lights out for the opposition. Last night the Rangers notched three against the all time great goaltender Marty Brodeur - but got blown out.

And there was a time when Hank dominated Marty Brodeur - outplayed him - just about owned him. But not last night.

Not only did Hank fail to finish with a victory - he failed to finish at all - getting pulled by an angry John Tortorella after letting up 5 goals and making just 12 saves.

The Goalies:

Lundqvist. He faced 17 shots. He saved 12 of them. Now - many of those goals were on nasty shots - deflections, screens, point blanks - but the numbers are the numbers. If Hank saves, say, 85 percent of the shots that came his way - we win.

Auld. Hank's replacement. 10 shots. 9 saves. That's a .900 save percentage. The best goalie of the night.

Brodeur: 19 shots - 16 saves. Not good - but good enough to beat us.

Special Teams: We were 0-3 on the powerplay. The Devils we're 1-2. Another nail in our coffin.

The New Veteran Rangers - Just about the whole show - what there was of it. Prospal scored. Christensen scored. Gaborik had an assist. Jokinen had an assist. Even Shelly had an assist - and a fight (more or less)

Your Returning Rangers: Dubinsky and (new dad) Girardi had assists. Nothing from our American Olympians though.

The Kid Rangers - I count Prust here - it's his first full season - and he scored a goal last night.

Defense on Offense? One assist.

In conclusion: I think we alternate Lundqvist and Auld game by game for the rest of the season unless and until Hank starts looking like Hank again.
Next Up: Friday night - Atlanta.
Where we stand: I don't even want to look. Seriously.

No comments:

Post a Comment