Thursday, March 25, 2010

Working on a Dream

Wait! Before we get ahead of ourselves - before we start saying what this game did or didn't mean - before we relate it to the playoff race or evaluate it in the context of the season or dissect the coaching...

Let's just stop for a minute and enjoy this one.

As Ranger fans - we live and die with these guys - so let's just live a little right now - while we can.

In 24 hours this feeling could be long gone - but right now - don't you feel a little better than have in a while? Can't you feel that little bud of hope growing inside? We played great in a meaningful game, we ain't dead yet, and after so many losses it just feels good to feel good about it.

The Rangers put up their best effort - and came away with their best win - of the season. In the first ever 3D broadcast of a regular season game - the Rangers added several dimensions to their game: offence - defense - goaltending - special teams - and drawing penalties. For one night - Lundqvist was perfect again. The Rangers could score again. Gaborik was back flying around the rink - playing like his pre-injured self.

The Rangers played with emotion from the start - leaping to a 3-0 first period lead - out shooting the Isles 16-3 in the 2nd period - but not scoring - and then getting 2 more in the third to win 5-0 over their hated rivals from Long Island.

We don't get long to enjoy it - we play the Devils in New Jersey tonight and we still have a long way to go before we get close to playoff race

But it feels good to have a game like this - and we really needed it right now. So many things went right last night:

The Goalies: For one night at least - Henrik was the king again. 27 shots against - 27 saves. Shut out win. You can't ask anything more from Lundqvist - a perfect game.

Roloson was barraged with 44 shots and made 39 saves - some of them great ones. This could have been much much worse for the Islanders without him.

Special Teams: The Rangers powerplay struck twice last night. With 9 games to go they have already outscored last year's PP unit. And the PK was, of course, perfect.

The New Veteran Rangers - Gaborik finally looks healthy again - and what a difference that makes to this hockey team. The Gifted one had 2 goals, an assist, and nearly got the hat trick. Christensen contributed 2 assists and Shelly had one.

Your Returning Rangers - A Goal and assist for Dan Girardi. Assists for Dubinsky and Staal. And Sean Avery was everywhere - distracting the Islanders - getting an assist on the Girardi goal - and drawing Islander penalties left and right. In fact - Seanny drew a double penalty all by himself resulting in a Ranger 5 on 3 advantage.

The Kid Rangers -
Big night for the young ones. A goals and assist for Del Zotto. A goal for Anisimov and an assist for Gilroy.

Defense on Offense: we were all over this one. 2 goals and 4 assists.

In conclusion: A gem of a moment in a season that has had far too few of them. And mathematically at least - we are still in this playoff race. After all - we're chasing the 8th seed - not an elite team - a mediocre one. Another 9 games of excellence and we could still make some noise.
Next Up: We go again - right away - against the Devils tonight. This is why I wanted Auld last night - because I think it makes no sense to run Hank out there two nights in a row. Why did we get Auld if not for back to back games like this one? But of course - since we used Lundqvist last night - that means we're running our backup against a powerful Devils team. So - I don't like the way we played this - and I'm wondering what Torts will do in goal tonight.
Where we stand - Still in 10th, but just 5 points behind the Bruins and 6 behind the collapsing Flyers. Not great – but not dead yet. We’re still (as Bruce Springsteen would say) working on a dream.

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