Sunday, March 22, 2015

Rangers win ugly – but beat Carolina in Shootout

At the end of the night its 2 points and we’ll take it.  The Rangers played a good second period in Carolina, Cam Talbot played a good game period, and Zuccarello got the game winner in the shootout (and this sentence ends with a period).

The historical streak of (was it 8?) consecutive games giving up one goal or less came to an end as the Hurricane’s dominated the third period (like they had the first) and scored to tie the game and send it to Overtime.  You can’t blame Cam Talbot, who once again stood tall in goal and did more than give the Rangers a chance to win – he won the game by not letting up more than the 2 goals.

The second period is where the Rangers did all their best work – offensively and defensively.  They outshot the Hurricane 14-5 and scored twice. 

At 3:39 it was J. T. Miller, skating with Brassard and Zuc.  Zuccarello, who heard his name called by the fans even though the Rangers were away, made a perfect pass through traffic to J. T. as he streaked alone to the net.  Miller intended to knock the puck to his forehand, but instead tipped the puck right past Khudobin for the tying goal.  As J. T. tried to position his stick for the forehand shot that never came – it faked out the Hurricane goaltender while the puck slipped past him.

And later it was Jesper Fast, who had scoring chances all night, doing the full 360 spin-a-rama between the circles and zipping the puck over Khudobin’s right shoulder for the 2-1 lead.

After the Hurricane’s tied it in the third, and a scoreless O.T., we were on to the shootout, where Cam had been simply awful in earlier tries this season.  But we‘ve been watching the Ranger backup net minder grow into an up and coming star before our eyes and this shootout was a much different than any we’d seen Cam in before.  He was simply perfect, stopping all three Carolina attempts. 

And for the Rangers – Mats Zuccarello faked (deked?) with his backhand, pulled it back to his forehand and slid the puck around Khudobin’s pad for the game winner.

What Did We Learn?  We learned that seasons evolve.  .And right now the Rangers are winning with goaltending and blocked shots (24 tonight).

Assist "sisters" of the game: Kevin Hayes, Brassard, and Zuccarello (big one)

Did Special Teams Determine The Outcome Of This Game?  Thankfully no – we were (once again) 0 for 2 on the PP, while Carolina scored once in two tries.  It almost cost us one and will eventually if we can’t figure out how to score with the extra skater.

Where Do We Stand?  It’s good.  First place in the Metro, somehow 5 points above the Islanders with 3 games at hand.  14 points above 9th place Ottawa (who are just 1 point behind 8th place Boston).  Montreal has 2 points on us for the East, but have played 3 more times.  Same thing for Anaheim over in the west (who we play tomorrow)

Oh My - What Will Happen Next?  No rest.  We scoot home to take on the league leading Anaheim Ducks on Sunday. 

Non-Sequitur of the day:  I had Hampton winning the National Championship – so my bracket is kind of busted.

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