Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Rangers Comeback Win

Hockey is a long season, not as long as baseball, but still long. Baseball is so long a season it makes growing old seem like a cake walk. So in a long season you have some great games, good games, poor games, well, you get the idea. Sometimes you have it all in one game. Last night was one of those games. Heck, this could be a great year with more games like last night with the same results.

Krash Kreider got us on he board first with a power play goal, no less, the Rangers first in 18 attempts. Then that Old Devil, and I do mean old, Jaromir Jagr, tied it with his first of the year on a power play. The Devils liked this so much that they then scored the next two goals, Henrique and Merrill, on power plays, to take a 3-1 in the third.

The Rangers woke up with a little over ten minutes left in the game. If you don't wake up by then you are actually dead. It came with the help of the coach. Normally I don't like line changes in a game. Not excessive ones. But the coach made a big and game changing one. Chris Mueller, called up from Hartford  and playing on the fourth line was moved up to center Nash and Kreider. It paid off later with a power play goal, wow that's two, by Mueller to bring the Rangers within one. Five and a half minutes later, Nash tied it on a rebound off of Kevin Hayes. Nash's goal was his NHL leading 8th of the year. If Nash had been playing like this last year, the Cup banner would be in the Garden rafters. It's amazing what being a father can do to a man.

The game winner was a thing of joy, beauty, and grit. Kreider and Mueller sped out of the Rangers zone and caught the Devils, napping and confused. Kreider cut to the center, took two Devils with him, and fed Kevin Klein, who buried the game winner past Cory Schneider, no it's not Maaarty anymore. Klein's goal was the first goal scored by a Ranger D-man this year. So for the second game in a row a D-man has worn the Broadway Hat.

The Rangers are now off 'til Saturday when they play Le Habs in The House of Horrors. However, it is a long season and there will be many great, good, poor games. As Lou Costello said to Bud Abbot, 'sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.' The Rangers have now won three in a row. As our coach has stated, "never critique a win."

Monday, October 20, 2014

Close To Perfection

It would be hard to imagine the Rangers playing a more complete and satisfying game that they played yesterday afternoon, than the 4-0 win over a very good Sharks team. The Sharks came in tied for first in the Pacific with nine points and had shellacked the Devils the previous game and are considered a strong Stanley Cup contender. So what went right?

Everything. Lundqvist got his first shutout of the year, 51st of his career, and made 33 saves. The one he almost missed was saved by D-man Matt Hunwick, who cleared a teetering puck from the goal line early in the match that would have given the Sharks a 1-0 lead. Lundqvist was so impressed with Hunwick's effort he awarded him the Broadway Hat after the game.

It was a big night for firsts. First goal scorers were, Hagelin, St. Louis and rookie Kevin Hayes, who looks like he may blossom into a big contributor. The Rangers also set a franchise record by scoring two goals, St. Louis and Nash, in four seconds. Nash's goal was his 7th, becoming the first Ranger to score 5 goals in the season's first six games. Also, the Rangers have won 66 straight games when getting at least 4 goals. The last time the Rangers scored four goals and lost was 10/29/2011 in a 5-4 shootout loss to Ottawa.

Other good news. The Rangers were 41-21 on faceoffs. And guess what else? The coach basically stayed with the four line structure. Hayes centered Nash and Kreider. Brassard centered Zucarrello and St. Louis. Moore was moved up to the third line between Hagelin and the surprising Stempniak and Chris Mueller, promoted from Hartford centered the battering rams of Malone and Glass. Glass had six hits and Malone had five.

Anything go wrong? Yes, but minor. The power play was 0-1 and now is 0-17, the longest drought since 2003-04 that went 0-32. So we have a way to go, but as the coach is fond of saying, don't critique a win. Two big road games coming up at New Jersey and Montreal. Let's Go Rangers!

ICINGS: T/Birds were trounced 7-1 in their last game dropping them to 1-3. Still time to turn it around.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Rangers Edge Canes in Shootout

I gave a sigh of relief when Nash scored the game winner in the shootout. Yeah, we won but now I could go to sleep and stop fighting it, watching a bad game between two mediocre teams. The Canes have not won a game this year and are 0-2-2. Of course they are playing without the Staal brothers, Eric and Jordan, plus Jeff Skinner, Patrick Dwyer and D-man Andrej Sekera, so their team is depleted. So what's the Rangers excuse?

The Ranger coach reverted to the tactics of his predecessors, with many line changes, some even on the fly, so it was difficult to tell who was playing with whom. Sam and Joe did a good job keeping us updated. They also did an admirable job making a poor game sound interesting. Reminded me of the 'old days' when Yankee announcer Mel Allen had the Yankees making all those great catches and hitting all those bullets, all on the radio. Then we went to TV and saw that most of the stuff was ordinary. But I digress.

However, both goalies were good. Lundqvist made 29 saves and the Cane goalie, Anton Khudobin made 33. Carolina was 0-3 on the power play, the Rangers were 0-5. For the season the Rangers are 0-16. The crowd booed the Rangers after the second period. Sam and Joe didn't mention that. Only good news folks.

But we have seen this act before. Last year we started 3-6 before turning it around. So we keep the faith and wait for the turnaround. However, it would be good to play a good game. We have had one this year and one of five is not good. Let's get it together boys. Maybe the coach had it right after the game, "Don't critique a win."

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