Before the big game last night, Tom Renney remarked that he hoped the Flyers would throw the kitchen sink at the Rangers. Well they threw the sink and every thing else, forty shots on goal, but it was a skate that did the Rangers in last night and a Ranger skate at that. Joni Pitkanen got the Flyers first goal on a shot headed straight for Lundqvist but for some reason Steve Rucchin stuck out his skate and redirected the shot past The Prince. That was at the 10:18 mark of the third period. It started a Flyer comeback that resulted in a 3-2 OT loss for the Rangers.
Give the Flyers credit though. They could have folded after Rucinsky's goal at 8:22 of the third period, off of beautiful passes by Jason Ward and Petr Sykora. But the Flyers kept coming and the Rangers tried to play rope-a-dope in the last ten minutes and it didn't work. Robert Esche, the Flyer goalie, made some good saves, 28, but the Rangers missed many scoring chances in the first period and their was one frustrating sequence where Jaromir Jagr hit the outside of the net on three consecutive shots. Jagr opened the scoring at 18:01 with a laser past Esche, which was his 33rd of the year.
The game was a Flyer dictated type of game. They played it without Forsberg, Kim Johnson, Eric Desjardins, Branko Radivojevic and of course Primeau, who is probably lost for the season. They out hit the Rangers 40-15.
So 40 shots and 40 hits, it's a wonder that they had to go to OT to beat the Rangers. It was only through the efforts of Lundqvist that the Rangers looked like they would pull it off. With the lack of an effective forecheck and a collapsing defense the outcome was almost inevitable.
Where do we go from here? The Rangers need some young blood in the lineup. Thomas Pöck should be brought up from Hartford and phased into the starting lineup. Malik, who was slow to begin with, has slowed to a halt. Rozsival, while improving, still gives up the puck too many times. The entire defense suffers from the fact that there is no consistent forechecking. The first and second lines are perimeter type players. No one, with the possible exception of Prucha, on these two lines goes to the net. Ryan Hollweg should be playing every game. I hear the experts tell me that they need Marcel Hossa to develop. If they mean as a scorer than what is he doing on the fourth line?
The Rangers have three games in four days starting Wednesday. It's the Penguins and then at the Islanders and then at the Flyers. Next week it's the same routine, three in four, with home games against Ottawa and Toronto on Wednesday and Friday and the closeout before the Olympics at Toronto. This is probably as crucial a stretch that they will have all year. We will see what kind of bounce back they have in them.
Carnival of the NHL #18 - The Sawchuck Edition [Abel To Yzerman]
Sidearm Delivery reports that Thomas Pöck is playing great down on the farm (why don't we have defensemen like that?):
Giroux tallies two as Pack rub out Rats, 5-4...Thomas Pöck had a goal and an assist for the Pack
Wolf Pack flatten Falcons, 6-3....All-Star defenseman Thomas Pöck recorded his third 4-point game of the season (1g, 3a)
Note: I know that it's Pöck with the funny "o" - but I don't know how to make my keyboard do that. So from here on he's Pock, my apologies.
Calling in sick at Sabre Rattling:
One of the things that solidified my decision for adopting the Buffalo Sabres as my own was that Lindy Ruff was the Head Coach. Ruff's overall demeanor, wry candor and his ability to dish out the perfect one-liner impressed the hell out of me.
GrampaPinHead looks at ESG (Even-Strength Goal) stats and comes to some conclusions:
There has been a lot of talk in HockeyTown lately of Even Strength Goals, or the lack thereof, and I decided to apply my own special case of OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder)...[courtesy Kuklas Korner]
Plan A: avoid playing 5 on 5 against Ottawa, NY Rangers.
avoid playing 4 on 4 against Buffalo, Dallas, & LA Kings
avoid playing Calgary, at all cost.
Christy at Behind the Jersey in her Behind the Blog features:
the always opinionated Acid Queen at Sweet Tea, Barbecue, and Bodychecks. She is a dedicated Carolina Hurricanes fan who always speaks her mind whether it's about Carolina bashers, happenings around the NHL, or Carolina's rise to the top of the NHL.
Update: It looks like Petr Prucka has a blog at LiveJournal:
I have spend time at friends places lately because... well, just because. So we talk some and I talk with Marcel and Aleš and decide things. Mostly that I should move out soon. That is not anything because of Jaromír, it is me. I realize all life I have other people do stuff for me and now is time to do it myself...
While not moving, I find out we can buy many things on internet! So I have a couch. Not here, they have to send it. It is leather and brown. Real nice. Aleš buy me a very large television. I was not to let him, but it is so nice. So big for watching hockey or Xbox. He say televisions are good company. I have never live alone before so I must think he is right.
He watch our game today, so I am glad it was good one. Thanks for vist, Aleš.
Marcel say maybe he can teach me to cook some? I hope he have stuff for if I burn places down.
I guess he's eligible to get added to our "Ranger Land" blog list. But, can you believe everything that's on the internet? Is this a case of Czech forgery?