Friday, October 26, 2007

And A Babe Shall Lead Them

Martin Brodeur played his usual tough game against the Rangers, stopping 28 of 30 shots, and was voted the number three star of the game. There were two problems for Marty tonight. One was Henrik Lundqvist, with 22 saves on 22 shots, and the other was Nigel Dawes.

Brodeur has seen Lundqvist before. The Prince is the reason that the Rangers are no longer overwhelmed by the Devils. The two put on quite a duel tonight and Brodeur only lost because a newcomer to the rivalry, a babe, had come upon the scene.

Actually Dawes came on the scene by accident, a series of them to be exact. Avery, Hossa, Straka and Callahan have all come down with injuries that have given Dawes his chance. Hossa is the only one who has returned to claim his spot but the others will be out for a while. Tonight Dawes staked his claim to a full time position on a goal starved team.

The two goals were the first of the season for Dawes. The previous game against the Pens he put six shots on goal. He broke the Ranger goal scoring drought by rifling one past Brodeur on a feed by Shanahan at the :57 second mark of the opening period. It was helped by a turnover by Devil defenseman Karel Rachuneck. We've seen that before. It was the first Ranger goal in over 126 minutes. It was the first even strength goal for the Rangers in over 180 minutes. More important it gave the Rangers a lead they would never relinquish. In the third period, he iced the game with a power play goal on assists from Prucha and Dubinsky. This goal was noteworthy due to the fact that the coach did not round up the usual suspects for the power play. He put out Dubinsky, Prucha and Dawes to start the power play. How about that! Maybe the coach is paying attention.

Dawes will probably have about four weeks to prove he belongs in the lineup as Avery should be back in about a week but Straka still may need a couple of weeks. When Avery returns he will probably go to the second line with Drury and Shanahan. Dawes will join Dubinsky and Prucha on the third line and Hollweg will return to the fourth line and Strudwick will go back to the bench. I think. Dawes should be on this team when all hands return on deck. Hossa should sit with either Dawes or Prucha moving up to the top line.

What I found amazing tonight is that the Rangers are always bragging about their talent pool in Hartford. So if we have so many hot prospects, why did the coach use Strudwick as a forward on the fourth line? Wouldn't it have been nice to see Greg Moore or Alex Bouret or Lauri Korpikoski skate for a few shifts? The win snapped a four game losing streak and began a six game home stand that includes another game with the Devils on Saturday November 3rd and ends against the Flyers on Monday November 5th. We should know a lot more about these Rangers after this home stand. Hopefully somebody else, anybody, will start putting some pucks in the net. Otherwise we will continue to put undue pressure on Lundqvist to steal some games for us.

Who says they don't read the blogs? Colton Orr and Ryan Hollweg each got over nine minutes of ice time and responded by getting ten hits betwen them. Hollweg had three hits and two shots on goal and both were very effective. While Petr Prucha only got 11:29 of ice time he did get 3:29 of PP time. Dubinsky got 10:17 of ice time and 2:59 on the PP. Dawes was 15:27 of ice time and 1:58 of PP time. Lets see how long that lasts. The power play for the Rangers was 1-8 and the Devils were 0-3.

ICINGS: Dawes was number one star and Lundqvist was number two. So coach Sutter says he will not have a checking line. Eh? Opening faceoff. The Jagr line is on and there is Pandolfo and Madden. It went on all game. The more things change the more they stay the same. Coaches talk too much anyway.

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  • The Dark Ranger said...

    Great post. I found Dawes one of the better talents in training camp and was shocked to see him move up to Hartford as the final cut.

    I do think his performance in one game and the subsequent two games a permanent spot on the roster.

    Then who sits? Eek.

  • mike said...

    the dark ranger-Hossa for starters. The only time he seems to score is on the shootouts. Dawes is a gamer, has to stay in.