Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Another Great Comeback Win

By now you have read all the stories about the big win last night. This is two big comebacks in the last three games. The first one was great, this one is unbelievable. Amazing when you think about it. Minnesota was 4-2-0 and had given up six goals in six games. Here they gave up five in one period. Actually five in 17'08. Poor Wild goalie, Darcy Kuemper, still don't know what hit. However, he knows his GAA has ballooned.

The pluses were many. Anthony Duclair, first goal of career, tying the game at 4-4. Mats Zuccarrello, his first of the year, and the game winner. Rick Nash, rolling along, with his ninth of the year. Kevin Klein, continuing his offensive surprise, his second, opening the Ranger scoring. Derick Brassard, scored his fourth, also continuing his fine offensive play.

The minuses were many also. John Moore faces a suspension for his high hit on Eric Haula. He deserves a suspension. Chris Kreider received a game suspension for his forecheck on Jonas Brodin, and may be spared a longer suspension. And how to explain the poor play for the first two periods? There have been too many poor starts. Are the coaches on their game? Can the coaches get this team up for a sixty minute game?

So now it is four days off before Winnipeg on Saturday and we still lack consistency on offense and defense. And that lack of consistency also affects the goaltending which has also lacked consistency. Plus, decisions are looming. Hold on to Duclair or send him back to Juniors? Resign Staal now or go to the end of the year with a guy whose head is not 100% in the game. It's early yet we don't want these issues to simmer. Fix them now and get this machine moving.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Revisiting The House of Horrors

I thought last year's big series win over the Canadiens would expel the demons from the House of Horrors, but I was wrong. So what else is new? Maybe it was the emotion of the moving ceremony before the game? Maybe it was the presence of Carey Price between the pipes? He is now 6-1-0 on the season and I believe 8-1 against thee Rangers. Maybe it is the fact that the Rangers are not there yet and that the loss of Stepan and Boyle are big factors in that. Whatever it is, the Rangers are not playing good hockey.

The crowd was big, as usual, and festive. They can be otherwise in defeat. Number two son was there, with three friends, courtesy of the Moulson's. He makes a couple of trips a year up there and I hesitate to blame him for the losses he seems to incur while up there. However, the Rangers did not play a very good game. Sure they outshot Montreal 35-30 but most of the meaningful play was in the Rangers zone, around Lundqvist.

The Rangers had no fore check, no sense of urgency and the coach reverted to that old bromide of constantly changing lines looking for the right combination. To get chemistry you need consistency. To get consistency you need familiarity. Stick with it. Stick with what worked before. Don't get helter skelter, change on the fly, pond hockey.

Much has been made of the poor play of Marc Staal. Solution. Sign him up to an extension before this season gets a day older. I've seen it before, players playing with other things on their mind. He is too important to the team to have him dangling. Wake up Stealth. You have all year to hibernate. Sign Staal now. Its still early, so lets clean up these little issues so we can concentrate on the big picture. The Stanley Cup.

ICINGS: The T/Birds won their second game of the season, 5-4, over E, Islip. Nicholas scored his first goal of the season on a blast from the point. The T/Birds are now 2-3. More good news. My eleven year old grand daughter, Allessandra, qualified for the junior Olympics in swimming. So Ole Gramps had a good week, despite the Rangers loss. But hang in there, it's still early.

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."

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