Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Third Line Is A Charm

The Rangers did something unusual last night. Yes, they won, but it is how they won. It was a laugher. Sure it was the lowly Bruins, who are sinking fast, but they were only four points behind us at game time. What was also unusual was that the Rangers won a game where Jaromir Jagr had no points.

Maybe Renney finally figured it out, maybe. No, we still don't have a second line center but Matt Cullen did very nicely as a third line center. Did I say nicely? Flanked by Petr Prucha and Jed Ortmeyer, the trio accounted for three goals and six assists. Three points each and they were named one, two and three stars of the game in order, it was Ortmeyer, Prucha and Cullen and it was deserved. Prucha had two goals, Cullen had one and Ortmeyer set a career high three assists. Cullen's goal was a shorthanded goal and the line was flying all night.

Other goal scorers were Rozsival, Nylander and Shanahan who got a shorthanded penalty shot goal. He was fouled going to the net but I don't think it warranted a penalty shot. We'll take it. We had the spectacle of Nylander scoring his goal by crashing the net, literally. Nylander's goal was on the power play which went 1-6 and is now one in the last twenty seven attempts. Not good. So the Rangers pulled off the perfecta of scoring every which way you can score in a hockey game except for an empty netter and a five on three. They scored at even strength, shorthanded, power play and penalty shot.

Lundqvist continued his return to last years form stopping 29 of 30 shots. He has now given up only seven goals in the last five games. Barring something unforseen look for him to go for the rest of the thirty two games.

Now the opposition gets tougher and we will see if this imperfectly put together team can sustain its momentum against Toronto, Tampa Bay and Detroit in the next seven days. The Rangers have to go all out in the final 32 games regardless of whether they get a rental like Forsberg or stay with this team.

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