Sunday, October 08, 2006

But Its Early In The Season........

In a sloppily played game, Mario Lemieux would call it garage hockey, the Rangers won the gunfight on Broad Street on a shootout goal by the oft maligned Marcel Hossa. Hossa for once had the right idea. After watching twelve shooters before him try an assortment of dekes and shots he went through the five hole on Antero Nittymaki to give the Rangers their second straight win going into a Garden rematch with the Flyers on Tuesday. I'm not a fan of the shootout as you know but it did bring out a wonderful duel between Henrik Lundqvist and Nittymaki.

The win was the Rangers first two game opening season win streak since 2000-01. While that was great there were problems that arose that we won't mention because the season is just underway.

The power play was 0-6 and is now 0-9 in two games. How could it be better with Martin Stracka and Michal Rozsival playing the points on the power play? You still think that Brian Leetch is too old for this team? Of course we do have young Thomas Pock who is very good on the point but when Kaspy comes back Pock will sit. But it's early in the season so let's not complain about it.

The Flyers, Peter Forsberg, ran Henrik Lundqvist into the net and while he got a two minute penalty no one on the Rangers went after him. With Malik and Rozsival on defense who was going to go after Forsberg? Maybe they thought it was two old friends getting together. This will go on all year as word gets around. We can't afford to lose the Prince. But it's early in the season so let's not complain about it.

Lundquist faced 39 shots and made 35 saves opposed to Nittymaki who was 26-30. The defense keeps sagging and didn't go out to get the shooters. They didn't put their bodies on Flyers bodies. The Flyers outhit us 14-11. Forsberg was their leader with 3 and Aaron Ward led the Rangers with 4. We have the least toughest defense in the Eastern Conference. We need Kaspy back and Tyutin to step up. But it's early in the season so let's not complain about it.

Did I say sloppy? The Flyers gave up the puck 12 times and the Rangers gave it up 9 times. There was no cohesion. To Renney's credit he did mix up the lines a bit but it was usually just for one shift. When in doubt he went to the old reliables. Shanahan got 25 minutes of ice time, Jagr got almost 23 and Ryan Hollweg got 5 minutes. Nothing changed from last year. But it's early in the season so let's not complain about it.

As stated Marcel Hossa scored the game winner in the shootout. Renney is hoping that Hossa starts playing big and lives up to his brother's potential. How can he do that when he got 9:24 of ice time and 7:17 of it was on the penalty kill unit? But it's early in the season so let's not complain about it.

Finally the Prince. Yes he gave up four goals but he shut the Flyers down from 18:30 of the second period through the the end of the overtime. And he was 13 for 13 in the shootout. He brought sanity to the game. He is our franchise player who must be protected at all costs. Without him the Rangers are dead. So who is going to protect him? Mark my words, the Flyers will be running him Tuesday night. Who will stand up and protect him? But it's early in the season so let's not complain about it.

ICINGS: The penalty kill unit slipped a bit giving up 2 goals in 9 attempts. For two games they are 15-17 in kills. Good performance but we are taking too many penalties. Of the 8 Ranger-Flyer games last year three ended in OT and one ended in a shootout.



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