Sunday, November 27, 2011

From Hartford to Hat for Hagelin - Rangers beat Flyers!

When the Rangers played the Flyers on Saturday afternoon, one big question was how long the bitter rivals could go without a fight breaking out.

The official answer? 4 seconds.

Our man Sean Avery looked like he was about to get into a scuffle of his own at the opening face off – but the small but feisty Brandon Prust beat him to the punch (Editor – literally) by taking on Zac Rinaldo, throwing a series of circling bombs, earning himself a 5 minute major and, eventually, the 3rd star of the game honors.

Facing a Flyers team who had only lost twice on the road all year, playing a day game after a night game Friday, the NHL's league leading defensive team grabbed a 1-0 lead on Brad Richard's powerplay goal, and never looked back.

GAS Line – after a hot night in DC Friday – Gabs, Artem and Stepan were shut out Saturday – which is okay when their teammates pick them up.

Man-Up! - Special teams often make the difference in NHL games, and this time – the Rangers had the advantage. Our powerplay was 1 of 2 – and the Rangers scored early in the 2nd period on a great powerplay sequence. First of all – the Rangers remembered to SHOOT THE PUCK for a change, getting 5 shots to the net in 26 second span that the start of the 2nd period. At the end of that barrage (Editor – what is a barrage?) (Dave Pucks – it means lots of shots), Girardi and Del Zotto delivered puck perfectly to Brad Richards and the Rangers newest sniper buried a 19 foot one-timer past Sergei Bobrovshy to get the Rangers on the scoreboard. And as it tuned out...

Between the Pipes: …that one goal was all we would need. The Ranger's league leading defense (Editor – is that correct?) (Dave Pucks – you're the editor – check it) (Ed – I can't believe it – but it's true) never let the Flyers score. Henrik Lundqvist was his MVP self once again, stopping all 29 shots that came his way. Bobrovshy saved .938 of the 32 shots the Rangers launched at him – enough to win most games against most teams – but not Saturday night. This was the first Ranger win on Special teams since November 6, scoring once in two tries with the man advantage and killing off all 3 shorthanded situations. The Richards goals would have been enough but the Rangers got a huge second goal from....

Ranger Rookies: Carl Hagalin, who scored his first NHL goal in just his second game since being called up from Hartford. Assisted by Whaler linemate John Mitchell and Ryan McDonagh, the rooks played well and received praise from John Tortorella in the port game press conference. And best of all – Carl earned the Ranger victory hat! What an amazing climb – from Hartford to his first NHL goal and Hat honors – in less than a week.

Say what you will about Sather and Torts – if they don't like what they're seeing on the ice they will not stand pat. It wasn't all that long ago that the Connecticut Rail line was closed – with no rookies ever getting to the top club – but more recently our farm system has been called on over and over again and has produced.

Minute Men: Girardi again led the way with 27:26 of ice time and 29 shifts. And Captain Callahan led the forwards with 19:04.

Offensive Defenseman: This was a night for the back liners: Assists for Del Zotto, Girardi, and McDonagh. When the defensive unit shuts down the opponent and generate s 3 points – they are going to win a lot of hockey games.

Avery Watch: One shot, one hit, playing on a line with Prust - and Dubinsky!. It was Eric Christensen who had the healthy scratch. We're cautiously optimistic that Sean has earned a spot on the team – at least for the moment.  And yes - we are 9-2-0 with Seanny.  

Also of note: Several seconds before Richards scored - Ryan Callahan also nearly had a goal of his own – but the replay correctly ruled that his had used his hand – rather than his stick – to direct the puck in.

So – two very nice wins over quality teams and rivals to get us back in track. We close out November on Tuesday when Concussion Crybaby Sidney Crosby and the Penguins come to town.  

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