Friday, December 09, 2005

They Came To Play

Whatever bad taste the Rangers had from their performance in Chicago the previous night ended at 12:31 of the first period last night with one of Jaromir Jagr's patented wrap around goals that leaves the goalie feeling like he was on one of those theme park rides that whips you around three or four times and then jettisons you. The Predators goalie, Tomas Vokoun, gave up one more goal to Petr Prucha and then called it a night with a knee sprain. His backup, Chris Mason, wasn't much better as the Rangers drilled him for three goals in a relatively easy 5-1 win in Nashville.

What made this win all the more remarkable was that Nashvile had won four straight, were 13-2-0 at home and their goalie, Vokoun, was 15-4-3. In fact, Nashville had only given up 63 goals in 25 games, second to Ottawa which has given up 52 in 25 games. The win ties the Rangers with Ottawa for the most points in the NHL with 42, though Ottawa has played six fewer games. The Rangers stretched their Atlantic lead over Philadelphia to six points as the Flyers lost to Edmonton last night. The Flyers have, you guessed it, four games in hand.

The goal scorers for the Rangers were Jagr, and two each for Petr Prucha and Steve Rucchin. Petr Prucha now has 12 goals. Sidney Crosby, the number one pick in the NHL, has 13 goals. Think about that. Prucha has spent time in the AHL and at times has seen limited ice time and yet has one less goal than the number one pick, Sidney Crosby. Also, Alexander Ovechkin, the Washington Capital phenom, has 17 goals. Remember also that Prucha has two winning shootout goals.

The star of the night in my opinion was Jed Ortmeyer. The leader of The Kamikaze Kids was absolutely outstanding on the penalty kill. Nashville was 0-8 on the power play. The Rangers weren't much better at 0-4 as their PP woes continue. But the night was about defense and the penalty kill. Watching Ortmeyer hobbling on the ice after blocking a shot, making no attempt to get off and then coming back for his regular shift was the highlight of the game for me. Obviously he had help and the rest of the kids on the penalty kill unit were excellent. Dominic Moore, Jason Ward and Blair Betts were all strong with help from Kasparitis, Malik, Strudwick and Tyutin. Strudwick got into what seems like a nightly occurrence, a fight. I guess he is the designated fighter on the Rangers. He handled himself well against Darcy Hordichuk who looked agitated after getting nailed by Ortmeyer in the first period. I guess the goons don't like to be hit.

ICINGS: So on to St. Louis for one of those games that could be what they call a trap. The Blues have the worst record in the NHL, only 13 points and we are coming off a huge win, so beware Rangers, beware. The Rangers are 9-6-2 on the road and the Blues are 3-10-1 at home. Oh, by the way, The Prince made 30 saves including one beauty, a glove save on a Paul Kariya laser. But, we expect this from The Prince who is now 12-4-3 with a GAA around 2.0.

: Eric at Off Wing Opinion agrees with the Ranger Pundit that Tom Renney should try shifting Jaromir Jagr to the point on the power play to give it some life.

Carnival of the NHL, #15 [deadspin]

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