Sunday, February 8, 2015

No Hanks! Rangers start flat - rally to tie - and fall in OT 3-2 to Dallas

And this was supposed to be the game where the Rangers – back at home and facing a weaker opponent – righted the ship and gave Cam Talbot his first victory during Hanks Extremely Injured Neck Interlude Era (can we call it HEINIE?).  I’ll think of a better name.
I was at this game in section 222 and I have to say the Rangers and the fans seemed to be sleepwalking through much of this contest.  The Rangers had trouble getting started – not getting their first official shot on goal until 12:55 of the first period.

It took a 5-3 to get Dallas on the board in the 2nd but score they did and the Rangers had to fight their way uphill the rest of the night.
But then Kevin Hayes swooped in toward the Stars net and fed the perfect pass to Karl Hagelin for the simple tip in and a tie score.  At 15:27 of the 2nd we were tied 1-1.

But the Rangers couldn’t get out of the 2nd with the tie score.  Hayes turned the puck over just past the blue line in the Dallas zone and the Stars broke out quickly.  Eric Cole’s shot from between the circles appeared headed 5-hole and appeared to be stopped as Talbot slapped the pads together.  But the puck trickled through and the Rangers 2nd intermission saw them trailing 2-1.  I don’t want to say that Hank would have had that one but… well I guess I am saying it. 

And that’s how the score stayed though most of the third.  But then – with the Ranger on the powerplay from a delay-of-game penalty - but time running out on the penalty – Vigneault made the bold move of pulling Cam for an empty net 6-on-4.  The strategy paid off as Zuccarello’s shot from the top of the right circle left a big rebound that Chris Kreider pounced and on beat Kari Lehtonin at 18:40 for a 2-2 tie, a point, and overtime.

In the end – we lost in OT – but the tying goal was some consolation for a team that was playing hockey in Nashville Tennessee less than 24 hours before they were underway at this home game in New York.

Coach Vigneault looked angry and embarrassed at the loss – and I wonder if some of that bad feeling was projected at Dan Boyle who was covering – or trying to cover – Ales Hemsky as he launched the winning shot.

In the end we only let up three shots in the 3rd period and overtime – but could not find a way to win.  And Cam Talbot's save percentage of 0.880 was below 0.900 for his 2nd straight start.  

Uh, A Little Help?  Assists for Klein, Zuccarello, and Hayes. 

Did Special Teams Determine The Outcome Of This Game?  No - both teams were 1 for 3 with the extra skater. 

Where Do We Stand?  Looking down – Florida also lost in OT so we remain 8 points up on the line-of-death.  Looking up – the Caps lost in regulation so we are 1 point out of third in the Metro with 3 games at hand.  And we’re still only 4 points out of first with 2 games at hand on the Islanders. 

Oh My - What Will Happen Next?  The Cam Talbot show goes back on the road for a 4 game stretch starting Tuesday night in Toronto. 

Non Sequitur of the day:  During the Ranger powerplay the guy in front of me at the Garden made me laugh and feel nostalgic at the same by yelling “Shoot the puck, Barry” – a reference to Barry Beck – a long ago Ranger.  Nice job, guy-in-front-of-me. 

 Pave Pucks out and thanks for reading!

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