Before a noisy, festive pre-holiday crowd the Rangers extended their winning streak to six games with a hard fought 2-1 win over the struggling Penguins at the Garden last night. There were the usual Ranger suspects delivering the win. The Prince, Henrik Lundqvist I, was brilliant in turning back 35 shots, the Kamikaze Kids were perfect on the penalty killing, five for five, and Marek Makik, the Wizard of Broadway, scored the winning goal on an ordinary wrist shot from the left circle past a very good Marc-Andre Fleury, who stopped 30 of 32 shots.
Coming off of four days of rest, the Rangers looked tired. They seemed to be a step behind the Penguins in puck pusuit but they gutted it out for the win. The leader was The Prince. Lundqvist was beaten by defenseman Ryan Whitney who was alone in the slot for the Pens only goal. In one hundred forty two (142) plus minutes, relieving an injured Weekes in Atlanta, plus a shootout over Washington, The Prince has given up only three goals. In addition he has shut down the two rookie phenoms, Crosby of Pittsburgh, and Ovechkin of Washington. He is 10-3-2 (OT or shootout loses), 7-1-1 at the Garden, where he reins supreme with his adoring subjects who roar at every easy save he makes and go bonkers on the great saves. Last night there was a lot of bonkers. He now has a 1.99 GAA and a .933 save percentage. It is time to talk about Henrik Lundqvist as the rookie of the year.
Besides Malik scoring his first official goal of the season, we shall never forget his all time highlight film shootout goal, Maxim Kondratiev scored his first NHL goal ever on a first period power play. The Kamikaze Kids were short their leader, Jed Ortmeyer, who attended a family funeral. Ville Nieminen filled in for him on the HMO line. That's the line of Hollweg, Moore and Ortmeyer. The HMO moniker comes from my friends at Insidehockey.com. When you call your HMO they usually help you with a problem, this HMO group creates problems. Along with Betts, Ward and Prucha they were relentless all night in keeping the Pens pinned in and on their toes. Ryan Hollweg was especially effective with some brutal hits even laying one on Super Mario. When was the last time a Ranger put a hit on super Mario? Hollweg's may have been a first. Hollweg needed fifteen stitches to close a gash over his right eye on a high stick by Dick Tarnstrom, who was given four minutes which lead to Kondratiev's goal. Didn't bother Ryan who dished out thunderous hits all night. The Rangers are becoming a tough team to beat.
Game recap [NHL.com]
Carnival of the NHL #14 [hockeydirt.com]
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