Wednesday, December 14, 2011

No Retreat, No Surrender (No Avery - no goals - no points)

In the 2nd period, Souray of the Dallas Stars found enough time and space in the Ranger defense to do a full wind up from the left circle.

The result was a massive shot on goal. A cannon blast. A kill shot.

And it was headed, like a ballistic missile, directly at the head of Henrik Lundqvist.

Hank didn't have much time to do anything. But he did have that tiny faction of a second. We're talking nano-seconds. (Like the time between the light turning green and the guy behind you honking his horn...)

So Hank - with his nanoseconds - jumped.

He tried to get his head out of the way. He wanted the puck to strike his body - instead of his head. Good thinking, because the head is kind of important.

And Lundqvist being Lundqvist - he got there. And so, the puck struck him directly in the collar bone. Direct hit. The kind of shot that ended Marty Biron's season last year

And Henrik was hurt.

He fell to his knees and slumped forward. And being Henrik Lundqvist - he collapsed into crippled version of a goalie stance - hugging the left post.

It was soldier staying at his post to the end. No retreat. No surrender.

Impressive. Valient, even.

Eventually the refs blew the whistle and - after a long session with the team's trainers - Lundqvist was able to return to - and finish - the game.

When it was over, Hank had stopped 28 of the 29 shots that came his way - a .964 save percentage - usually good enough to win.

Not last night though. The Dallas Stars were in the process of shutting the Rangers out.

We were 0-4 on the powerplay. We out hit the stars 28-24 and outshot them 34-28. We played well defensively - even without the concussed Sauer (and the concussed Staal).

But there was one defensive breakdown in the third period that led to an odd man rush and the one shot Hank couldn't handle. So we lose 1-0.

But - this bodes well for the healthly scratch of Sean Avery. Make no mistake - Tortorella doesn't want Sean. Sather does. So Glen insists and John quietly tries to sneak him off the team. The Rangers are now 1-1 in this latest non-Sean stretch. This might give Glen the leverage he needs to get Aves back in uniform.

At least I hope so.

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