The suits at NBC must be kicking themselves tonight by guessing wrong on the game of the week. How else to explain their pick of Islanders vs Penguins over Rangers vs Flyers. The game was a classic and MSG has already put it in their archives to show at the next strike/lockout. It was a game where the Rangers and Flyers stood toe to toe, literally, slugged it out, saw each team mount strong come backs with the final one belonging to the Rangers. I'm sure no one, especially the non hockey nerds at NBC, knew this game would be a classic. But how do you pick a game of two sub .500 teams over a game with two old rivals fighting for first place in the Atlantic Division? And they wonder why the telecasts get such poor ratings.
This was an old fashioned Flyer-Ranger rock 'em sock 'em type of game. Momentum swung back and forth. The Rangers scored first when Marcel Hossa, getting more ice time, put a one-timer past Flyer goalie Robert Esche, off of a beautiful feed by Jason Ward. Then it was Nylander on a PP, the Rangers were 2-4, on a great feed from Jagr. As in previous games the Flyers would not quit. They leveled a furious barrage of checks, got two big turnovers from Martin Rucinsky to tie the game by the 1:34 mark of the third period. When Mike Knuble scored the go ahead goal at 11:08, off of a Fedor Tyutin turnover, it looked like curtains for the Blueshirts. But then the early season magic (luck) returned to the Rangers.
With Lundqvist off for a sixth skater, Renney put six forwards on the ice. After a Flyer icing put the faceoff deep in their zone, Steve Rucchin, who played another strong game, won the faceoff, kicked it back to Straka, who passed to Rucinsky whose shot looked like it bounced off the head of Petr Sykora for the tying goal with 41.1 seconds left in the third period. Straka was then taken down driving to the net as regulation time expired. Then 1:24 into OT Jaromir Jagr, beat Esche through the legs for the winner.
Despite some thundering checks from Donald Brashear and company, the Rangers went hit for hit. The Flyers outhit the Rangers 17-16 and there were two fights. At 9:22 of the second period Orr and Brashear went at it with the decision going to Brashear, but give Orr credit for not backing off. At 17:56 of the second period Strudwick challenged Turner Stevenson and they fought to a draw. Stevenson had put Prucha out of the game with a knee to knee hit, so the Rangers,at least for this game, were sticking up for each other.
How good was this game? Listen to opposing viewpoints. Flyer coach Ken Hitchcock:
"We're disappointed. We played a great game. We deserved a better fate. It's the best game we've played in a month."
"We kept working hard. We came back and we deserved it."
This was the third OT game these teams have played against each other. Flyers have won two and the Rangers one. Just think about this. There are four more games these teams have against each other. The next to last game of the season for the Rangers is against the Flyers on Saturday, April 15th at 2:00 PM at Wachovia Center in Philadelphia. I have an idea the nerds will be broadcasting it.
ICINGS: The Flyers bad luck with injuries continued. Petr Nedved had a strained groin and only logged 6:10 of ice time. Defenseman Chris Therien went out with ahead injury after only 3 shifts and 1:49 of ice time. Petr Pruca went down with a knee injury logging 8:09 minutes of ice team. He got a big assist on Marcel Hossa's goal, who playing with Prucha and Ward got 11:25 of ice time.
The evenness of the game showed up in the stats. Both teams blocked 15 shots each, the shots were 29-28 Philadelphia and the big discrepancy was in faceoffs where the Flyers had a 38-20 edge. However, the Rangers won the biggest faceoff of the night near the end of regulation and followed it up in OT with another big win. Rucchin got two hits which surely makes this game a Ranger Classic.
• I thought the Rangers should take a look at the Washington Capitals defensemen Brendan Witt. Here are some thoughts by "Abel to Yzerman" about Witt:
we’re looking at a 31 year old defenseman, rugged but not completely sound defensively. His career high in PIM’s was 123 prior to this season. Already in ‘05-’06, has 125.
Offensively, he doesn’t bring much to the table with a career high of 12 points last season.
But, what he does offer is malice in front of the crease, and that’s something the Wings lack. However, lacking doesn’t necessarily mean “needing.” The way the game is played now, clearing the crease usually means filling the box–as reflected by Witt’s increase in penalty minutes this year.
Where Will Witt Play [Kukla's Korner]
via Off Wing Opinion
• Ten Rangers Heading for '06 Winter Olympics [NY Rangers]
- Ville Nieminen - Finland
- Darius Kasparaitis - born in Lithuania plays for Russia
- Fedor Tyutin - Russia
- Marcel Hossa - Slovakia
- Jaromir Jagr - Czech Republic
- Henrik Lundqvist - Sweden
- Marek Malik - Czech Republic
- Petr Prucha - Czech Republic (injured)
- Martin Rucinsky - Czech Republic
- Martin Straka - Czech Republic
2006 Olympic Winter Games - Hockey Schedule
• I think my grandson would like this:
Coolest Toy EVER! (video)
• Finally, sorry if you've had a hard time getting to this blog:
Blogger having major outage problems [digg]