Saturday, December 20, 2014

Five In A Row! Rangers Are Finer Than Carolina

These are good holiday times in Ranger Town as your hockey club just keeps finding ways to win.  Saturday night had many unpleasant features that we often see in Ranger losses:
  •   Disallowed Ranger Goal
  •   Giving up the go-ahead goal 20 seconds after tying the score
  •   Outplaying and outshooting their opponent – only to trail after a breakaway.
  •   The shootout

But – somehow – despite all of the above – your New York Rangers – who never led in this game -, fought back from two separate deficits to send the game into OT, and then won it on the shootout.

The first period was dominated by the Rangers everywhere except the scoreboard, where a two-on-one – that McDonagh almost broke up resulted in a goal by Chris Terry that put the Hurricanes up 1-0.  And the score stayed that way going into the third period –despite the Rangers outshooting Carolina 24-13 after two.

So on to the third, where the hard working Rangers finally solved Cam Ward.  Mats Zuccarello threaded a perfect pass through to J.T. Miller just as he was entering the offensive zone.  Miller darted in on Ward and beat him with a beautiful deke and soft toss in the net – and the Rangers, at long last, were tied at 4:07 of the third period.

They didn’t get long to enjoy it though.  A neutral zone turnover lead to a bad angle shot by Jeff Skinner – that somehow got by Hank – who appeared furious with himself after letting the Hurricane quickly regain their lead.

An apparent tying goal was waved off inside of 8 minutes.  Brassard – back from his bout with the mumps – was in the crease and in a bizarre sequence – Cam Ward threw off his own mask.  The Referees took note and when the puck was shot in the net – they waved the goal off in a sequence that the NHL will want to review.  From our vantage point – this looked like a bad call – but thankfully it didn’t finish off the Rangers  

Despite all these setback and bad puck-luck the Rangers kept their heads up and kept working to re-tie the game.  And with 2:27 left in regulation – the career year of Kevin Klein continued as he let loose a perfect slapper from the point that beat Ward and tied the hockey game (and was Kevin’s 7th on the year).  

The game went to overtime and then on to the shootout.  And in the skill competition, Mats Zuccarello used his hand speed to beat Ward high to his left.  And – with a determined and demonstrative Henrik Lundqvist slamming the door – that was all the Rangers needed – as they steal this one 3-2 after trailing for more than 50 regulation minutes before pulling out the win.

A nice, huge, emotional win for our fellows. 

Did Special Teams Determine the Outcome of this game?  I’d say yes -0 because the Rangers were 1-2 on the powerplay while running a perfect 4-4 on the PK. 

Where We Stand:  The win puts us back in the playoffs as we grab the 8th and final spot in the East – tied with Florida at 32 points but with a game at hand and more regulation wins.  And with the Capitals beating down the Devils Saturday – we trail them by 2 points for third place in the metro division – but have 2 big games at hand.

Now What?  It’s a back-to-back home-and-home so the Rangers return Sunday night to MSG to face the same Carolina Hurricanes. 
Nice win – Dave Pucks out and thanks for stopping by.

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