I'm pissed. I hate to write or say anything when I'm pissed, but I have to. It started with the lineup announcement. Is Ortmeyer hurt? Brad Isbister for Ortmeyer? I missed Ortmeyer right after Prucha took a stupid tripping penalty 29 seconds after Straka had given the Rangers a 1-0 lead. There was Marcel Hossa on the ice with Blair Betts and Hossa didn't have a clue of how to kill a penalty with the result that Brian Campbell skated in untouched and put one by Lundqvist who was totally screened, 21 seconds later. One gift goal for the Sabres who were scoreless on the next three power plays with Hossa sitting on the bench. Unless Ortmeyer is hurt, what was Renney thinking? Strike one!
Paul Mara had put the Rangers ahead 2-1 with 1:20 left in the second period and it looked good for the Blueshirts who had held Buffalo to nine shots in two periods. Then came the play of the game, maybe the series, at the 24 second mark of the third period, for the Rangers. Marek Malik sent a clearing pass from behind the Ranger goal on to the stick of Toni Lydman who fired a shot that was deflected by Chris Drury for the tying goal. Inexcusable. It completely wiped out two brilliant periods of hockey by the Rangers. Had Thomas Pock made that play he would sit for the rest of the playoffs. But this was Malik, the darling of the drive by sports media. This was Malik, the king of plus/minuses. This is the guy that Renney raves about with his great, first pass out of the zone. And you so called sports mavens wonder why we boo him so much every time he touches the puck. It could be a boo festival Sunday afternoon. Strike two!
But the Rangers had one more left in them. Halfway through the third period Rachunek and Hollweg chased Brian Campbell behind the Ranger net and not one of them even put a hand on him and it resulted in the game winner by Thomas Vanek. This is two games in a row that Rachunek has distinguished himself by his inability to pick up or stop his man. And Thomas Pock continues to sit and I will never stop wondering why he resigned a two year extension with this team. Do you think that Pock and Orr would have stopped Campbell from skating like he owned the back of the Ranger net? Strike three!
Other musings from this game. Jaromir Jagr unable to score a goal even though he had six shots. He has two goals in six playoff games and one of those was an empty netter. Michael Nylander played his poorest game of the playoffs. Twenty one minutes, no shots on goal and losing 13 of 15 faceoffs. Brendan Shanahan had bad luck on five shots and two crossbars and Sean Avery was active again with three shots, three hits and winning eight out of fourteen face offs. Ryan Callahan in 12:35 of ice time had three shots and four hits. This kid should be put on the first line with Jagr and Nylander to jump start it. It needs more life that it has shown so far. Disturbing to me was Dainius Zubrus running around nailing everybody, nine hits, with some questionable hits and no one on the Rangers to challenge him. The hit on Jagr looked like an intent to injure to me, but I see things different when I am p'od.
Lundqvist was credible with fifteen saves and Ryan Miller, perhaps annoyed by the talk about Lundqvist's greatness, played an outstanding game stopping 31 of 33 shots, some of them spectacular. Without a doubt the star of the game. Zubrus, with no points, was the second star and Thomas Vanek with the game winning goal was the third star.
I hope that Ortmeyer is not hurt but I would like to hear a good explanation from Renney than just, "I had to play Isbister." For those who are starting to despair, not me I'm just p'od, remember that all Buffalo did was hold serve for the first two games. Now the Rangers have to do the same back on the Garden ice starting Sunday. Maybe I'll be in a better mood after that game. Maybe, as you age, and God knows I am aging, you look for the little things.
April 28, 2007
No.2 Needs To Be The One
40 Minutes Isn't Enough For Win
Make No Mistake: This Victory Was Squarely In Miller's Glove
Rangers Give 'Em 2
Tough Loss But Don't Sing Blues Just Yet
Game 2 Slips Away
Rozsival Returns To The Ice For Rangers
Sabres Thwart Rangers