For the second time in their last three meetings against the Devils the Rangers blew a one goal lead in the third period, which evened the season series at four wins apiece.
Later Tom Renney muttered something about his team proved they could come to New Jersey and win even though they lost. Renney seems content that the Rangers keep playing close games against the Devils. Hey Tom, we are the team in third place and we should win these games. The Rangers have scored all of four goals in the last three games against the Devils now that Lou Lamoriello has figured out that Jagr needs a bodyguard in the person of Jay Pandolfo.
In honor of the Holy Season the defensive (?) combination of Jason Strudwick and Sandis Ozolinsh parted like the Red Sea and allowed Scotty Gomez to skate in all alone on Kevin Weekes and caught him going the wrong way to net the tying goal. Ozolinsh then had an encore performance and left Brian Gionta alone in front of Weekes for an easy tap in. If Ozolinsh were a baseball player he would be a DH as he has no defensive skills at all. He has taken this no hit league to its highest absurdity. I personally bestow upon him the Willie Huber Award for being the softest defensemen in hockey history. We got rooked when we gave up that third rounder for him.
The Rangers were outhit 21-11 in what the Rangers called a playoff type game. I have news for the Rangers. Playoff type hockey implies two teams hitting, not one. Ryan Hollweg led the team with four hits and was given a five minute penalty for a legal hit on Brian Rafalski. This was a makeup call for Hollweg's hit on Sergei Brylin in the first period, which was also legal, and not penalized.
Would you believe that the entire Ranger defense, six players, accounted for two hits? The only one hitters were Tyutin and Pock. Who has more no-hitters than Nolan Ryan? The New York Ranger's defense. The Rangers gave up seven power plays. They took three hookings and three holding penalties. Head shots by the Devils were overlooked for the one-sec hooking penalty. Grant Marshall who moaned long and loud over Kasparaitis's hit on him seemed to be enjoying himself with his hits. This seems to be the theme of the new NHL, cut down on those hooks. The Rangers will never cut down on those type of penalties, they are hooked.
Thomas Pock played well coming up from Hartford. Hell, he played well last time he was up and should be a regular and not be sent back to Hartford. He should take the place of Ozolinsh, but no chance. Sather brought Ozolinsh in and you know how that works? Look at Tom Poti. Poti by the way sat out with an upper body injury, whatever the hell that means. Lundqvist is still out with no date of return, bad news. Kaspy also is out with no idea of when he will return, more bad news. Rucinsky is out until the playoffs and no word on Rucchin's return, though the way Immonen is playing Rucchin is not missed.
Next up, the Islanders tomorrow night. Just to add extra interest to the game the great Ricky DiPietro has promised to kick the Rangers butts. Let's see if our under hitters respond to this challenge with a blow out win or another squeaker. We need six points, Ranger wins or Flyer losses, to clinch third so this is a big game as there will be only three left after this one. Lets win it guys, lets not back in.
ICINGS: Post Olympic scorecard is now 9-7-1-3. Willie Huber played for the Rangers from 1983-84 until 1987-88 when he was traded.
UPDATE: Eric at Offwing notes an interesting observation by John Davidson regarding Grant Marshall getting away with head shots against the Rangers-
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