Monday, December 12, 2011

Good for the Rangers. Bad for Avery

I'll get to the good stuff in a few inches of column space. But first - what was a great night for the New York Rangers was a bad night for our favorite player Sean Avery.

Why? Because John Tortorella has been slowly dropping Sean off the team.

Looking back over this season, Aves had climbed all the way from Hartford to the Richards line. But that lasted half a game. From there Sean was on the third line with Prust and, eventually the somewhat out-of-shape Dubinsky. But then - with the emergence of rookies Hagalen and Mitchell - Sean's line became the de facto (yes I know what that means) 4th line. And then – another step down - Avery was only getting half of his line's shifts.

And finally last night - our heart-and-soul forward was a healthy scratch so that Christiansen (what?) could get in the lineup.

So if you're a Sean fan - you have to half root against your own team - so that they'll see they need Seanny to win.

What happened, unfortunately, was the exact opposite.

With Avery scratched from the lineup - the Rangers put in their best performance of the season - dismantling the Florida Panther 6-1 despite playing their 3rd game in 4 nights and their 2nd in a row. And Christensen, Sean's (evil?) replacement, ended up with an assist - that was really just the rebound off a shot that
Theodore initially saved.

Okay - now the good:

We outshot the Panthers 33-21 and outhit them 30-24. 4 hits each for Coyle, Callahan, Del Zotto, and Dubinsky (3 for Prust).

Steve Eminger had a career night with a plus 4! He had a goal, a hit and 2 blocked shots.

What a night for the first line. Derek Stepan had 2 goals and an assist for a plus 3. His first goal was a thrilling end-to-end rush that gave us another glimpse of the potential upside this young Ranger may have. Center Anisimov had a goal and assist, and a plus 2. As for the Gifted One: Marian Gaborik had a goal, and assist and a plus 2.

Richards also had a goal – and there were also assist for Mitchell, Stralman, Del Zotto, Christensen (boo), Callahan and Boyle.

It was just a dominating win – our first in a while. Our suddenly potent Powerplay was 2 for3 and our Penalty Kill perfect in 7 tries. And our defense – still missing Mike Sauer (not to mention Staal) held Florida to just 7 shots a period. The Panthers were forced to pull "Three-or-more" Theodore after 2 periods, 6 goals versus just 16 saves for and a .727 save percentage. Hank, benefitting from a night off last night had another great night with a .952% save percentage. Lundqvist keeps us in every hockey game and allows us to dominate when the offense is clicking (like it is right now)

Great win. A great night. I just wish it was better for Sean.

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