---It looked like a tough act for the Rangers to follow. The act was the fans and the deafening roar they created when the Rangers hit the ice. Ex-policeman Rodriguez with the booming voice was drowned out singing the national anthem. The introduction of the lineup brought more roars especially for Jagr and Lundqvist. It continued through the opening seconds of the game and then the Rangers struck. At the 32 second mark of the game Michael Nylander scored his first of three goals setting off another roar from the crowd but the Rangers and Nylander were just getting started.They had matched the enthusiasm and expectations of the crowd on their way to a 7-0 rout over the listless Thrashers that have the Rangers one win from advancing to the next round.
Nylander with three goals (2,3,4), rookie Ryan Callahan (1,2) with two and Malik (1) and Shanahan (2) were the scorers who torched Kari Lehtonen who made 28 saves and has now given up eleven goals in two games against the Rangers. It looks like Hartley will go back to Johan Hedberg Wednesday night. Patrick Roy where are you now that Hartley needs you?
How dominate were the Rangers? Look at it this way. The first two games the Rangers were outhit by a two to one margin. In this game the Thrashers outhit the Rangers by one, 28-27. Shots? Forget about it. The Rangers once again outshot the Thrashers 35-21 and in three games the Rangers have a 112-73 shot advantage over Atlanta. Puck control? Forget it. The top line of Jagr, Hossa and Nylander usually controlled the puck for shifts at a time and the Thrashers just seem to spend their time chasing them around. The scoring slump of Atlanta's big four continued and Hossa was a -3, Kozlov was a -2 and Kovalchuk a -1. Along with Keith Tkachuk they got all of ten shots on goal. To make matters worse, Kovalchuk got tied up in a scrum with Avery, who else, in the third period with the result that they were both penalized for 17 minutes each which basically ended the game for both of them. Neither player seemed to be missed.
The Ranger power play finally got going with a 3-9 night and Atlanta was 0-5. The Thrashers were completely over matched and have to be scratching their heads wondering who is this buzzsaw they have run into. "Sweet Caroline" was introduced with 5:16 left in the game, followed by Nylanders third goal and the shower of hats and caps, then Dancing Larry and then the fans went to the Tomahawk Chop. Then the constant roar with about a minute and a half to play followed by the game ending roar as the Rangers won their first home playoff game in ten years and their first home shutout, 3-0 vs the Devils, in ten years. Then the roar for the raising of the sticks in victory and more roars and cheers for the three stars. Nylander, Callahan and Lundqvist were one, two and three. Other contenders were Jagr who had four assists, Avery who had two assists, Malik who had a goal and an assist and finally the fans or as Mark used to call them "The Faithful" who never stopped cheering and roaring. It was about as loud as I have heard in two years.
Four tickets to last night's game..................$260.00
Food at the Food Court..................................$ 55.00
Watching the Rangers beat Atlanta in a playoff game with my two sons Michael and Chris and my grandson Nicholas .................................... Priceless.