Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Hope and Crosby: Rangers don't give up - hang on to beat Penguins 4-3

It takes Hope to beat Crosby. 

It takes belief.  It takes effort.  It takes 60 minutes of determination and guts.  And on Tuesday night - the Rangers showed just enough of each of those qualities to win 4-3 in a streaky up-and-down contest.

Once again there was trouble from the start - the good kind of trouble.  Sean got into it with Kennedy 16 seconds into the contest.

Than, as Pucks Junior so aptly put it, Sean Avery, embarrassed by having his initial fight downgraded to a roughing penalty, rushed out of the box and earned himself an official 5 minute fighting major at 5:21.  Each of those penalties were offset by Kennedy in the box - but the Rangers did suffer through 4 penalties in period 1.  They killed the first 3, but when Lundqvist himself got tagged for roughing at 16:36, this time the Penalty Kill unit couldn't get through their 4th kill.  One Crosby assist later and the Pen had a 1-0 lead at the first break.

Trailing at home after one, the Blueshirt Brothers rose up against a quality Penguin team in a 10 minute span in the the 2nd to notch 4 unanswered goals:

1 - the first was by Captain Callahan off a great feed by the Gifted One Marian Gaborik.  It was, as Sam Rosen likes to say, a powerplay goal.

2 - Mitchell!  Welcome to the NHL.  The rookie center - off a great hand off by Hagelin - notches his first tally in the big leagues.  I can't believe how this duo has jumped from Hartford to the House like they always belonged here,

3 - Richards netted his 9th and the Rangers were rolling at 3-1

4 -  And the Gifted One notched his 11th - once again on the powerplay.  And for the briefest of moments it looked like the route was on.

Of course - nothing comes easily in Rangerland - so of course the fellow let up a goal with just 7 seconds left in the 2nd and we're at 4-2 in the break.

The third period, predictably, featured another Crosby assist, and a nervous 4-3 lead with 16:21 to play. But a funny thing happened on the way to a Ranger collapse:

They didn't. They hung tough.

Instead it was the Penguins who got sloppy, committing 4 straight penalties in the last 8 minutes to prevent themselves from generating any kind of offensive momentum. By the time the last Pittsburgh penalty expired – the Rangers had just 54 seconds to muddle through to hang on for the victory. In the third we couldn't score 5 on 3, and we missed an empty net, but somehow we held on – limiting the penguins to just 3 shots on goal in the final frame.

It was something of a great win for New York – because like a pitcher who doesn't have his best stuff -
we proved we could win anyway over a quality opponent. Hank was mortal tonight - stopping only . 889 percent of the shots he faced. But the team rallied in front of him – outhitting the Aquatic Birds 43 to 23, winning a stunning 40 of 57 faceoffs, and, in the end, outshooting the shooters 30 to 27.

A great win for what appears to be a very good hockey team on the rise. Will they keep it up? Can they achieve greatness?

Well, we'll never have Crosby – but right now we've got hope.

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