Monday, April 02, 2007

Rangers Rake Leafs

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Sean Avery, top, slams Toronto Maple Leafs' Darcy Tucker to the ice during the first periodIn as an impressive a win the Rangers have had in two years the Blueshirts moved to within two points of clinching a playoff spot with a 7-2 trashing of the Toronto Maple Leafs. The win put the Rangers in sixth place, one point ahead of Tampa Bay with three games left for both teams. Toronto remained in ninth, one point behind the eight place Canadiens, who are three points behind the Rangers.

The Rangers are now in position to give their fans the ultimate present, clinching a playoff spot by winning at the Coliseum in Long Island. Remember when the Islanders were blitzing the Rangers in their first four meetings? Well, the Rangers have changed that by winning the last three and bolted ahead of the Islanders. The Rangers have changed a lot of things since their mediocre beginning.

Since the trading deadline the Rangers are 16-5-5 and that is due mainly to the acquisition of Sean Avery in a trade for Jason Ward. At that time it seemed like one of those even up swaps with two average defensive players swapping teams. Boy, were we wrong. Since the trade Avery has 8 goals, 11 assists for 19 points in 26 games. But it is more than the goals and assists that Avery brings to the Rangers. He brings a decree of toughness and nastiness not seen around here in ages. He brings swagger and the team has picked it up. Add in the youngsters and the Rangers have a winning attitude for the first time all year. Tonight he scored the 'Gordie Howe' hat trick by getting two goals (17,18), an assist and winning a fight against the hated Darcy Tucker. Needless to say, he was voted the number one star, Nylander with a goal (25) and an assist was number two and Lundqvist with 25 saves was number three star.

Jaromir Jagr continued his revival with a goal (29) and two assists. Straka (29), Rozsival (10) and rookie Callahan (4) were the other goal scorers as the Rangers toyed with the Maple Leafs. Three more games to go and the Rangers must keep up the pressure and keep performing at a high rate. They have won seven of their last eight and a sweep of the last three teams, the Islanders, Montreal and Pittsburgh, would send shock waves through out the Eastern Conference, a marked turnaround from last years dismal playoff performance.

ICINGS: Crowd was as noisy and boisterous as I have seen all year and the large contingent of Maple Leaf fans were hardly heard at all. Loved those Toronto female fans with their blue colored hairdos.
Newsday
Avery instigates a win
Lightning holds lead on Rangers
NY Post
Avery Good Night
Journal News
Avery earns cheers from Rangers' fans
CBC
Rangers rough up Leafs
AP
Rangers 1 Win Away From Playoff Return



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