Thursday, April 26, 2007

Bombing In Buffalo

In the old days of Broadway the shows would open in places like Hartford, Scranton and Buffalo, and if successful they would bring the show to Broadway. Thank goodness they don't do that anymore because off of last nights performance the Rangers would have to close in Buffalo. Maybe the Rangers had too much time off. Maybe the Sabres are the elitist of the elite. Maybe Tom Renney should not have changed the lineup. The bottom line is the Rangers bombed in Buffalo.

What happened to this fine tuned machine that blitzed through the Atlanta Thrashers? True, the Sabres are a better team than Atlanta but it was more the Rangers ineptness and sloppiness that brought down the Blueshirts last night. The Rangers took eight penalties, three holdings, two hookings, a goalie interference, closing the hand on the puck (Malik) and a bogus roughing call against Ryan Hollweg, who played all of 5:29.

Martin Straka's giveaway and subsequent hooking penalty at 13:54 of the second period was the start of the Rangers downfall. The Rangers had started the game strong and Jagr almost scored at the 32 second mark and even though they put 34 shots on Ryan Miller they really never challenged him. The Cullen, Callahan and Prucha line seemed to have the most jump but how do you explain Renney giving Prucha all of 7:42 of ice time? Why play Hollweg over Orr and give him so little time? Watching Rachunuk out of position on Thomas Vanek's second goal made me long for the safe, position playing Thomas Pock. Second guessing, why change a winning lineup?

The Rangers have to regroup and do it fast. Jagr has to be more assertive and forceful. He got two shots in the first period and then went into a funk, giving up the puck five times. Despite getting four hits, Avery was not a factor and finished with a minus three. The Shanahan, Straka, Avery line was a combined minus ten. Lundqvist kept the Rangers in the game with 15 saves in the first period but was left naked in the second period when the Sabres broke it up with three goals in 4:05.

The seriousness of the Rozsival injury is not known but the Rangers have to be more disciplined this time. They must cut down on the penalties. One good thing about opening off Broadway, you get a chance to recast and rewrite the script before you come to the big town. Let's do it. Renney has to rewrite this script to bring the series home even.


April 26, 2007
Lundqvist Can't Be Savior
Rozsival Hurt, Doesn't Return
Sabres 5, Rangers 2
Sing It, Lindy: Ya Gotta Have Hate
Sabres Dominate Rangers in EC Semifinals
Daily News
Buffalo Buries Blueshirts
Karel's Back On Blueline
Ranger Defense Takes A 'Mild' Beating
NY Post
Scorers Have To Make Their Point
A 'Bad' One
Journal News
Rangers Fall In Opener Against Sabres

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  • jfl1066 said...

    I agree with your take, except maybe about Hollweg/Orr, but I don't think it matters very much. I definitely prefer Pock over KR. Why change a good thing? I'm not sure there is much the Rangers will be able to do with the speed of the Sabres. I guess we will see tomorrow.

  • mike said...

    jfl1066-Lets not hoist the white flag yet.

  • Down by the Seaside said...

    There's an old sports adage that goes something like this: "You're never as good or as bad as you look." And we looked real bad and the Sabres looked real good. But no reason to go looking for the panic button, yet.

    And with that in mind, I ask why did Renney start changing the lineup? Orr and Pock should be in the lineup. (I'm not crazy about Betts, so I'd give his spot to Hollweg to make Hollweg fans happy.)

    Renney continues to prove that he's not a prime time coach. And so it goes. But we still have a hot goalie and a superstar (when Jagr wants to be) to overcome mediocrity behind the bench.

  • mike said...

    down by the seaside-As usual,you are right on target except for Betts. He is a big part of the penalty kill and wins faceoffs (65% in first game).We are going to have to live with Renney for a long time, the mainstream, drive by media love him.

  • Anonymous said...

    As the game goes on the (St)rangers start to slow down and the Sabres start to speed up.

    We're going down in four - let's face it guys. Each game it gets noticeably more apparent.

  • mike said...

    anonymous-We outshot them 11-9 in the third period but we made three big goofs and that cost us.

  • Anonymous said...

    mike - you're polishing a turd here. Shots don't mean shit. Chances do - and the chances the (St)rangers are getting are on the rebound and Buffalo cleans up those rebounds better than any team I've seen before. They are few and far between.

    Watching these games reminds me of a cat playing with a mouse.

  • mike said...

    anonymous-When the mouse moves like Malik he is dead.

  • Anonymous said...

    Props to the (St)rangers finding the legs to skate two games tonight.

    props to the maintenance crew to keep the ice just above the freezing mark - there were PUDDLES out there! and slow down the Sabres.

    Too bad, four games will be played in Buffalo on ice.

  • mike said...

    anonymous-Buffalo is ice!

  • Anonymous said...

    Mike - if you think the (St)rangers REALLY have a chance, I have a bridge for sale.

    That game yesterday will hurt the (St)rangers more than it helped them. They don't have the depth, nor the conditioning to keep up with the Sabres as it is.

    Game Four and Five will be blow outs.

  • mike said...

    Anonymous-For a team that don't have stamina they sure outskated the other team.