Wednesday, January 21, 2015

You Can't Spell Ottawa without OT - Rangers win 3-2 in Overtime

I'm getting the feeling that this is a special year.  Another night – another opponent – and another way the Rangers found the guts and determination to fight their way back into a game and win it.

With the All-Star game break stretching before them – the Rangers wanted one more win out of the first half of the season.  But the Ottawa Senators (and I don’t think they have Senators in the Canadian government so I don’t get the name) were thinking the same thing and it was a hard fought contest at Madison Square Garden.

There was a scoreless first – with Henrik Lundqvist equal to everything Ottawa threw his way and the Rangers threatening but not able to break through. 

In the 2nd – the Rangers got on the board first as rookie Kevin Hayes pounced on a rebound off a Dan Girardi shot – and netted it for the 1-0 lead.

Then – unfortunately – Ottawa got two past Henrik in less than a one minute sequence and it was 2-1.  The first through traffic and the 2nd on the powerplay.

But in the third – out heroes dug deep – kept the pressure on – and fought back to tie.  Marc Staal – who the Rangers recently signed for an additional 6 years – brought the puck into the Senator’s zone and then fed a perfect pass to Chris Kreider – who broke in alone on Anderson and tied the game at 2.

From there – on to OT where Derek Stepan did a beautiful no-look spin-a-rama pass to the speedy Hagelin in front of the net for an easy tap in and the 16-3 streaking Rangers were winners once again.

Shots were even at 35.  Hank saved .943 and, as we’ve noted, has visibly raised his game since the all star snub.  For once – we won the faceoff battle – 37-27.  I’m starting to think this stat doesn’t mean much – at least not by itself.  Face offs only help if you’re also good at puck possession.  The Rangers have been losing face-offs and winning games this year so I wouldn’t dwell on this stat too much. 
Assists for Girardi, Staal, Stepan, St. Louis, McDonagh, and of course Hagelin. 

Did Special Teams Determine The Outcome Of This Game?  No.  We were 0-3 on the power play and or PK was 1 for 2.  We won anyway

Where Do We Stand?  Washington lost – but in a shootout.  And Pittsburgh lost – but in OT.  So our win puts us at 27-13-4, in third place in the Metro, a point up on the Capitals and just one point behind the 2nd place Penguins with a game at hand.  Most important – we have opened up a biggest-ever 8 point lead on the line-of-death playoff elimination demarcation.  (Editor – hey that rhymed)  (Dave Pucks – yes I’m a poet and I didn’t realize this was occurring)

What Will Happen Next?  A week off for everybody except Rick Nash – who travels to Columbus for the all star game.  Rangers resume next Tuesday with a rematch against the Islanders.   

Non Sequitur of the day:  J. B. Smoove?  His middle name doesn’t begin with a “B”.  B is for his original last name (Brooks) – and Smoove is made up. 

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