Sunday, March 11, 2007

Big Rebound Win

The Rangers were dead tired against Pittsburgh in the third period yesterday and blew a two goal lead and eventually the game in OT. Less than 24 hours later they showed up at MSG to play the Hurricanes in a crucial game. And show up they did and play they did in another playoff atmosphere type game. Of course it had to go to the proverbial shootout, but what the hell, they won it. The Rangers are now tied with Carolina for the number eight spot with 76 points but do have a game in hand on Carolina. The Rangers are only two points behind the seventh place Islanders, with the Islanders having a game in hand.

While Rozsival and Malik still got too much ice time, Renney distributed the allotted time much better. Brandon Dubinsky got 11:50 of ice time including some 40 seconds of power play time and got two shots and three hits. Girardi and Pock got up to 12:41 and 14:24 with Pock getting 1:24 of PP time. Petr Prucha logged 14:49 with a significant 4:01 of PP time with two shots and two hits. Jagr and Nylander were under twenty minutes and the Rangers showed no sign of the fatigue that set in Saturday at Pittsburgh. The Rangers out hit the Hurricanes, 31-21. with Rozsival leading the way with five followed by Rachunek with four. Rachunek's play has really picked up in the last few weeks and especially since the addition of Paul Mara who in 21:22 of ice time put two shots on goal plus getting two hits.

Marek Malik, perhaps feeling the sting of the boos from the fans, put a Brian Leetch rush on early in the first period, skating into the offensive zone, ripping the puck at Cam Ward then picking up the juicy rebound, skating in and putting a backhander past Ward. The crowd went wild and there were no more boos for the rest of the night. When Justin Williams tied it at the 10:04 mark of the second period it looked like another swan dive for the Rangers. But Lundqvist hung tough the rest of the way making thirty saves all told, some spectacular, to keep the Rangers in the game. Then came the OT and a terrible high sticking call against Nylander gave the 'Canes a chance to win it but Henrik hung tough and then on to the shootout.

I will cease to comment on the merits of the shootout for the rest of the season.The Rangers seem to have an advantage over most teams in a shootout with Lundqvist in goal. They are now 8-4 in shootouts with Lundqvist stopping 37 of 44 shots with a .84 % save percentage. Henrik is 7-3 in shootouts. Carolina is 0-5 in shootouts.

The shootout had its usual drama. Nylander went first and was stopped by John Grahame, who replaced an injured Cam Ward in the second period, and then Lundqvist beat Justin Williams. Matt Cullen then scored his third shootout goal in seven attempts which put the pressure on the 'Canes. Ray Whitney then shot wide and up came Jagr to the roar of the crowd. He put one past Grahame and the Rangers had eight place. It was Jagr's 2nd shootout goal in seven attempts and it cleared the Ranger bench and brought the crowd to its feet. The three stars were Cullen, Lundqvist and Malik, in that order and there were no more boos for Malik, only cheers.

ICINGS:

March 12, 2007
Newsday
Jagr, Lundqvist Are Clutch In Shootout
NHL To Simon: 25 Games
Daily News
Jaromir Razes 'Canes
Hollweg: Time Fits Crime
Simon's Season Over
NY Post
Rangers Do It With Defense
Journal News
Jagr's Shootout Goal Gives Rangers Tie For Eigth



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