Friday, February 27, 2015

First Place!

Will you look at that?  Take a long look at the Metro Division standings because your New York Rangers are sitting at the top of it.  It was a long climb – it may not last long- but it is what it is – a great moment in a great Ranger season.

And how did we get here? It’s a long and happy story – but the latest reason is that we overcame a 3-1 deficit to beat the Arizona Coyotes 4-3 in regulation.

Cam (9-1-2 since Hank went down) was again in net.and let in another early goal to put us down 1-0 in the game’s first minute.  But at 8:11 Chris Kreider on the power play took a tremendous feed pass from the rising Kevin Hayes and beat Mike Smith (that’s a Hockey Goalie name – sounds like witness protection)  to tie the game at one.

But your Rangers could not leave well enough alone.  The usually unflappable Martin St;. Louis was called for a tripping penalty and then Kevin Klein passed the puck to a fan instead of one of his teammates and was called for a Delay-O-Game sandwich. 

Five on Three?  Well, what’s the worst that could happen?  Uh, that would be a pair of goals for the Coyotes which is what they got – both by Sam Gagner and the Rangers were in a bigger hole now – down 3-1 after one.

But this Rangers team has shown they can score and come back and as we know – goals can forgive all sins.

In the second period – ladies and gents – its Lee Stempniak – deflecting a John Moore snap shot and we’re only down 3-2.  And then – once again – on the power play – Chris Kreider made the pla of the game – pouncing on a loose puck – taking the puck end to end for the breakaway – and then buring his own rebound off the initial Smith save to tie the game at 3.

On to the 3rd period!  Mike Smith lost his stick and Kevin Hayes did a semi spin-a-rama which Smith was able to save.  But the defenseman covering Lee Stempniak tripped over Smith’s stick befind the goal and Lee found himself alone in front.  His initial shot hit Smith’s pads but Lee tried again with the backhand and at with 2;14 left the Rangers had fought back to a 4-3 lead.

But we never do things the easy way and Marty St. Louis was called for hooking at 18:39.  The Coyotes pulled Smith for a 6 on 4.  It was a fast and furious finish – with Captain Ryan McDonagh flopping on the ice like a second goalie – but in the end the Rangers won and thanks to tiebreakers – we are in first place.

Arizona won the faceoff battle 43-25 and once again this stat seems to mean nothing.  We were outshot 40-38.  Cam stopped 37 of those for a .925 save percentage.

What Did We Learn?
We learned that a guy named Lee Stempniak is apparently a contributing part of this hockey team

Uh, A Little Help?  Assists?  Two for Hayes.  One each for Moore and Zuccarello, 

Did Special Teams Determine The Outcome Of This Game?  We were 2 of 3.  They were 2 of 5.  So I don’t know.

Where Do We Stand?  First place, dude!

Oh My - What Will Happen Next?  Down the pike to Philly on Saturday.

Non-Sequitur of the day: It is definitely White and Gold - not Black and Blue - okay?

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