The Rangers were rude guests at the Nassau Coliseum last night. They thoroughly undressed their hosts defense enroute to a 5-2 pasting of the Islanders. Actually it was a 'block party' of sorts as the Rangers blocked 25 Islander shots. Add to that the 18 missed shots the Islanders took its not a wonder that Kevin Weekes had only 23 saves which was enough to ensure the win.
The Rangers skewered their hosts with their famous tic-tac-toe passing which resulted in two highlight goals. The Rangers then added insult to injury when Ranger tough guy Colton Orr beat up Islander toughie Eric Godard who went straight to the locker room after the fight with a bloody nose.
The three most maligned Ranger players this year, Steve Rucchin, Tom Poti and Kevin Weekes all played well. Rucchin had a goal, an assist, three blocked shots and won 9 of 15 faceoffs. Poti had an assist, a beauty, and three blocked shots and Kevin Weekes made 23 saves for the night and generally played a strong game in nets.
The first of the two highlight goals was on the power play, the Rangers were 3-3 on the PP. Petr Prucha threw a cross ice pass from the right side of goalie Rick DiPietro, to Tom Poti on the left point who fed a perfect pass to Steve Rucchin who directed it into the goal. The other was a Nylander to Straka to Jagr who fired past a shaken DiPietro who had a poor night. He absolutely blew the Rucinsky goal which put the Blueshirts up 3-0 and ended any suspense that this would be a close game.
Looking for omens? The Rangers win gave them 70 points in 54 games. Only two other Ranger teams have reached that number in a shorter time. The 1991-92 Rangers hit 70 points in 53 games and the Stanley Cup Champions of 1993-94 hit the 70 point mark in 50 games. Remember, the Rangers got only 69 points in the last season played, 2003-04. Jaromir Jagr continued his assault on two Ranger team records. His 34th goal puts him 18 behind Adam Graves team high of 52 set in the Stanley Cup year. His total point total is now 78 and 31 short of Jean Ratelle's record of 109 set in the 1971-72 season.
The Rangers are now tied for first with the Flyers and go to Philadelphia on Saturday for a showdown meeting. The Flyers have one game in hand. This is all great news for this over achieving team and its loyal fans. Big story in New York, right? Wrong. All year long this exciting team with one of the great players in the game, Jaromir Jagr, and an exciting rookie goalie that is poised to win all kinds of awards has been basically ignored by the New York Post Sports pages. Yes we get Larry Brooks, the king of hockey writers but a blank on the back page of the Post.
What do we get on the back page of the Post is the Knicks. The under achieving, inept Knicks and their egotistical coach. Look at today. The Rangers and the Islanders and what did we get today. We get the big mouth from Pittsburgh, Joey Bishop talking about hate, fighting, killings and all that thrash. You want to do all that Joey? Enlist in the Army and go to the mideast and kill some terorists but leave that other stuff out of sports. The Post should leave that stuff off of their back pages. That stuff belongs in the Enquirer.
I thought that once the football season was over and our futile Jets packed it in we would get more hockey on the back pages. In all fairness Newsday has done it but mostly it is the Islanders on their pages, which is as it should be. I don't read the News so I can't comment on them but they usually mimic the Post. But the New York Post is my paper and no where can the Rangers be found on its back pages.
The one New York team that has put an all out effort and salutes its fans after a winning game, that should be on the back page, is not. Look at the New York sport teams records.
The Yankees, with the highest payroll of any team in sports, bombed. They were bumblers, not bombers.
The Jets were their usual high expectation, low performance selves. Their coach ran out on them.
The Knicks are a collective joke and their head coach is the biggest clown in the group. Their front office is in shambles but the Post puts all of them at one time or another on its back page. There is a team in New York playing like a team, respecting its fans and each other and they get no press from the Post. Too bad. They are missing a great story.
ICINGS: The Rangers, as a team, have the second lowest goals against in the entire league second only to the Ottawa Senators. The Senators have given up 124 goals in 51 games and the Rangers have given up 134 in 54 games. The Senators have a 2.43 GAA and the Rangers have a 2.48 GAA.
I see Larry Brooks is now calling Henrik Lundqvist - King Henrik of Sweden:
THE emergence in nets of King Henrik of Sweden has been one of the feel-good stories in modern Ranger history. Rarely, if ever, has a Ranger freshman been able to create the impact Lundqvist has both on the ice — where he is a legitimate contender for the Hart, Vezina and Calder Trophies — and with the fans, with whom he has been adopted as the linear descendant of Ed Giacomin and Mike Richter.
I appreciate you hopping on the royalty bandwagon with me. But, please he's just a "Prince!" He gets promoted when he wins a Stanley Cup.
For the record, I first dubbed Henrik Lundqvist "The Prince" on October 18, 2005. See my story: Hen-Reek, Hen-Reek, Hen-Reek-Star is Born.
Admit it, everyone thought I was a little crazy calling Henrik Lundqvist, "The Prince." Just the old Ranger Pundit in a continuing delusional rant episode.
Ah, but there's method to my madness! My readership has soared as the entire country of Sweden now reads the Ranger Pundit blog to see what glowing praise I am heaping on their national hero. So for all my Swedish readers:
Prinsen Henrik Lundqvist
reglernaregerar New York
update: So much for trying to get cute and using an Internet translation service:
Haha well I'm one of the Swedes reading here occasionally to see how Henrik is doing... Nice touch with the Swedish, just one mistake: reglerna = rules as in 'rules to live by', rules as in wielding power is called "regerar". :)
It's a small world. Thank you, the RP.