Thursday, April 12, 2007

Rangers Tough One Out

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Petr Prucha, left, and the Rangers held off Scott Mellanby and the ThrashersThe Thrashers plan seemed to be based on the theory that hitting the Rangers and hitting them hard would make them go away or fold in the process. It didn't work. The Thrashers outhit the Rangers 24-10, a few illegal that didn't get called, but the Rangers were resilent, hung tough and took the first game, 4-3, thus taking away the home ice advantage that Atlanta had.

Jaromir Jagr was voted the number one star of the game with a goal and an assist and had five shots on goal as the Rangers outshot the Thrashers 38-24. Michael Nylander was star number three with a goal, two assists and 3 shots on goal. Marcel, the other, Hossa also had a goal so the Rangers top line had 10 shots, 3 goals, 3 assists and were a combined +7. The Thrashers top players, Marian Hossa, Ilya Kovalchuk, Vyacheslav Kozlov and Keith Tkachuk had a total of 6 shots, no goals, 1 assist and were a combined -3. Basically the Rangers shut down the big guys and the Thrashers were unable to shut down the Rangers big guys. Bob Hartley decided that he could send his bangers, the fourth line, out against the Jagr line but Jagr made him pay by opening up the scoring at 12:50 of the first period.

Henrik Lundqvist made 21 saves and Kari Lehtonen, though he looked shaky at times, made 34 saves. Hartley could make a goalie change in the second game with Johan Hedberg, who beat the Rangers earlier in the year but to me the story of the game was the Rangers absorbing the hits and shutting down the Thrashers big four gunners. He may make the change to fire up his shooters.

While Pascal Dupuis was voted the number two star with a goal and an assist, I would have voted for Bobby Holik who had an assist, 4 shots on goal and 4 hits. The Rangers chief pest Sean Avery got 7 shots on goal, one hit and two blocked shots. After Jagr, Avery was the prime target for the Thrasher checkers. The question for Tom Renney will be whether to put Ryan Hollweg in the lineup for Saturdays game. It is hard to imagine the Rangers getting out hit by a 2-1 margin every night and not getting fatigued. But that is a minor problem. Suffice to say the Rangers now have the home ice advantage and must continue to press the Thrashers on Saturday. Rangers were 1-3 on the power play and the Thrashers were 1-2 on the power play so it behooves both teams to stay out of the penalty box. The Rangers had to kill off the last 1:11 of the game due to a holding the stick penalty on Thomas Pock but Lundqvist held the fort while the Ranger fans held their breath.

ICINGS:
April 13, 2007
Newsday
Nailbiter To The End
Exciting Moments For Hossas
Daily News
Marcel Scores In Return
The Curse Is Over!
Rachunek Still Not Ready To Go
NY Post
Long Time Coming
Journal News
Rangers Start Fast In Playoff Opener
View from Thrasher Land:
Blueland blog (official Thrasher blog):

Post-Game Sound Bites
Photo Gallery From Game One
Soooooooooooooo Close
One Down, One To Go
Time To Put On The Rally Caps

Do The Thrashers Have Large Talons?:
ATL-NYR Game 1 Reaction - 1st game where almost every fan was in their seat when the puck dropped. It was amazing to see a full building chanting “Let’s Go Thrashers” at full throat volume BEFORE the national anthem had been sung. I’ve never seen it that full even that early even on a weekend game. The crowd enthusiasm and noise was fantastic and better than I was expecting...

Talking Thrash:
My Two Cents About Game One - Tonight was so freakin stressful. I think I pulled a muscle waving the flag. While there were a few lulls at slow points in the game, Phillips was so freakin loud. The crowd was really into it. I've never heard it that loud--from the opening puck drop until midway through the first fans were on their feet, honking, waving their scarves...I hope it looked good on TV...



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