The Rangers must have been looking ahead to this homestand coming up. Tonight it will be the Devils, followed by Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh again. How else to explain their listless play at Boston last night. Playing against two inferior teams, the Bruins and the Pens in Pittsburgh, the Rangers have put together a two game streak that was solely due to the goal tending of Henrik Lundqvist and the sloppiness of their opponents. Unless they pick up their game they will be embarrassed tonight at the Garden against the Devils.
The Rangers two goals, Ward and Sykora, were caused by the Bruins twice passing the puck onto the stick of Michael Nylander, in the Bruins zone. He fed Ward for the first goal. Then Sykora put in a rebound of Nieminen's shot, off of a feed by Nylander, to give the Blueshirts a 2-0 lead. But the Rangers would not allow Boston's giveaways to go unreciprocated. They gave them back. First a Malik giveaway along the boards led to a stuff in by Marco Sturm and then a tripping penalty by Malik. There's that man again, coming 15 seconds after a too many men on the ice penalty against the Rangers, put the Blueshirts down two men. Brad Stuart fired a slap shot from the point to tie the game.
The Rangers won in the shootout when Jagr and Petr Sykora scored to beat Boston who got one shootout goal from Patrice Bergeron. It was a six round shootout where Tom Renney admitted he failed to realize Petr Sykora was on the bench. Tom better have all his wits for tonight otherwise Lou Lamoriello will chew him up real good tonight.
The Prince won the game. He made 27 saves in the game and was 5-6 in the shootout. He is now 19-6-5. That's forty three points out of a possible 60 points. That's a winning percentage of 72%. Not bad. That's the good news.
The power play has died and hopefully gone to heaven. The PP was 0-5 and is now 3-41. But that's OK Tom, leave it alone. It will fix itself by osmosis. No changes of personnel - the same guys playing tic-tac-toe. At least try it with Jaromir Jagr on the point. Speaking of the point and point men, Thomas Pock was sent back to Hartford. Thomas Pock, with the exceptions of Tyutin and Kasparaitis, is as good a defenseman that the Rangers have. I thought this was a rebuilding year. Isn't rebuilding about playing good, young players?
Rangers need a big game from Jagr tonight plus a tight, penalty free game from the defense. The penalty killers were 4-5 last night. The unit has slipped dramatically since the loss of Blair Betts. We also mourn the benching of Ryan Hollweg. The Rangers had only 13 hits last night and that was not a good or lucky number.
ICINGS: FYI - in the new NHL wooden hockey sticks are "practically extinct" (just like the Rangers PP). From the Morning Sentinel:
Wooden sticks are practically extinct in the professional game as well. Among NHLers, Boston Bruins defenseman Brad Stuart and Vancouver Canucks captain Marcus Naslund are among the few who still use wood.
Composite sticks -- made of, among other things, kevlar and graphite -- were introduced in the early 1990s, with composite shafts taking the place of aluminum shafts. Most recently, one-piece composites have been introduced, with an eye toward lighter and more durable sticks.
With the improvements in sticks, prices have skyrocketed. While wooden sticks still retail for as little as $19, composite sticks can cost as much as $225.
[courtesy Kukla's Korner]