Friday, December 23, 2005

Poti Shoots, He Scores-Yes Poti

This is not one of my fantasy columns. With 1:48 left in last nights game, Tom Poti blasted a rocket past goalie John Grahame to break a tie on the way to a 4-2 win at the Garden last night to put an end to their 3 game losing streak, all at home. While the Poti story is an uplifting story, for Christmas, the story was the overall team effort in general and the power play in particular.

Ah, the previously maligned power play. Last night it was awesome. Snapping out of a 6-65 funk the power play was 3-5. All it took was a little tweaking by Tom Renney. No, Jaromir Jagr was not on the point, but Martin Rucinsky was, along with Tom Poti. Renney also tweaked the penalty kill a bit with Martin Rucinsky getting regular shifts on the PK. Did you also notice that Jagr was also getting on the ice during the penalty kill? Yes, it was at the tail end, usually 15-20 seconds left but there was Jagr on the PK. Did you remember that the Ranger Pundit had proposed these moves in previous columns. Don't tell me that Tom Renney is not taking a sneak peek at the Ranger Pundit.

Renney continues to coach boldly. He benched Michael Nylander in the aftermath of his four penalty game. When was the last time a Ranger coach benched the first line center for poor play? In fact, when was the last time any coach on any team benched their number one center? The move paid off as the Straka-Jagr-Rucinsky line was relentless all night. The line took nine of the team's 36 shots. Rucinsky had a goal and two assists, Straka a goal and two assists and Jagr had three assists. Speaking of relentless, Petr Prucha continued to push his credentials for rookie of the year with a goal and led the team, along with Rucinsky, with five shots on goal.

Then there is the Prince, Henrik Lundqvist I, who continues his outstanding play. He came into the game third among goalies with a GAA of 2.11 and improved on that by stopping 30 of 32 shots and is now 13-5-3. Basically out of a total of 42 points, he has brought in 29 for a .730 win percentage. Not bad for a rookie who was picked to the Swedish Olympic team. He was voted the number one star of the game, Jagr was number 2 and Poti was number 3. That is the first time that Poti has made the elite circle of stars. If he continues to play the way he did last night it will be a big plus for the Rangers on two counts. It will help the power play, the team and his trade value, if that's what Sather decides, will go up tremendously.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Happy Holidays to all.

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