Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Jagr At The Point: He Shoots - He Scores

Would you believe that the Rangers put Jagr on the point on the power play? Would you believe that Jagr took a shot from the point on the power play? Would you believe that Jagr scored the game winning goal from the point on the power play? Jagr on the point on the power play? Yes. These are desperate times that call for drastic measures. But is it so drastic for a great player to whom nothing is impossible to be put at the point? I have been singing that song for two seasons now and I finally saw it. I didn't believe it, but I saw it.

The goal at the 10:45 mark of the third period broke a 1-1 tie and at the 13:29 mark Brendan Shanahan on a beautiful feed from Drury and Jagr put the game away. For a change the Rangers owned the game. Tampa Bay came in with a 3.56 goals scored per game. The only goal they would score against the Rangers and Lundqvist was a penalty shot allotted to Vinnie Lecavalier at 6:28 of the second period to beat Lundqvist for his 6th of the year to tie the game and that was it for the Bolts.

The opening goal was scored by Nigel Dawes, his third, on as beautiful a deflection you will ever see. The first period was the most evenly played of the three periods. The shots favored Tampa Bay in the first period, 11-10. However, the Rangers outshot the Lightning 25-11 the rest of the way holding Tampa Bay to only four shots in the third. The Rangers completely controlled the play the last two periods, hence the low shot total for Tampa Bay. Yes, the best defense is a good offense.

In the second period Jagr lost some teeth catching a puck in the mouth. On that play Lecavalier was awarded his penalty shot when he was hooked by Malik. I found the penalty shot call questionable. Even though the period ended 1-1 it was evident that the Rangers were starting to pick up their game. In the third at the 10:32 mark Gratton was whistled off for cross checking Prucha in front of the Tampa Bay net. The usual five came out for the PP only this time the set up was different. Jagr was at the point. Rozsival took the first shot which Holmqvist saved and then the puck came out to Jagr who shot and scored and didn't even crack a smile. He couldn't. His lip was swollen and some teeth were missing. He looked ready for Halloween.

The Rangers won because while they played defense they weren't defensive and uptight. They played with a purpose and while Lundqvist did make some big saves the Ranger offense controlled the game. Johan Holmqvist played a very good game in goal for Tampa Bay and made some outstanding saves. The Rangers put high quality shots on goal, something that has been missing the last few games plus they hit the posts a few times. They stayed around the net causing screens and havoc. Holmqvist could easily have been voted number three star. Shanahan was number three, Lundqvist number two and Jagr number one. Now its the Caps Thursday and the Devils Saturday and the Flyers Monday then to LI for the Islanders. So the Rangers will be tested. Was tonight a one game revival or is this the real thing what we have been waiting for? I hope so even though I may have to sing the Whiffenpoof song. We shall see.

ICINGS: The World's Most Famous Arena could have been called the quarter empty arena tonight. From my old tired eyes I saw anywhere between 2 to 5 thousand empty seats. Saturday night there were over two thousand Toronto fans. No way you are going to get Tampa Bay fans to travel to NY. Who bought out the Garden? The fans or the brokers? The Ranger luxury box was loaded with suits. Watching or evaluating the team and the coach? Interesting for a Monday night against a low recognition name team like Tampa Bay.



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