Well for one night it worked. For a change coach clueless made the right moves. He scratched Malik and Hossa and that opened up all kinds of good things for the Rangers. Marc Staal was moved to the first defensive pairing with Rozsival and that steadied Rozsival who racked up three assists, two on the power play. Strudwick moved back to defense which allowed Ryan Hollweg back in the lineup from exile in the blue seats. Hollweg was an instant hit, five to be exact, and along with Betts and Orr shut down the Sidney Crosby line. They were the unofficial stars of the game. The HBO line of Hollweg, Bets and Orr. Kudos.
The other change by 'clued for one night' was putting the top six scorers on the top two lines and leaving them there all night, no adjustments and no tweaks. It paid off. Gomez, centering Jagr and Straka had two goals, (7,8) and an assist, Straka had a goal (5) and an assist and Drury had a goal (8) and an assist. Seven different players shared the points. The Rangers were 2-7 on the PP. Pittsburgh was 0-4 on the PP.
Lundqvist who took a nap for the first two periods, 5 shots, put up his 6th shutout of the season which ties him for the league lead with Pascal Leclaire of Columbus. It was Lundqvist's 13th career shutout. The last game the Rangers won was also a shutout by Lundqvist, 1-0 over the Devils in OT back on December 9th. Lundqvist stopped 13 shots in the third period as the Pens tried to rally. Lundqvist was number one star, Gomez #2 and Chris Drury number three.
Now the Rangers go on a two day swing of Minnesota and Colorado and we shall see if this truly was a revival or a one nighter. Pittsburgh did not offer the same fierce forechecking that Phoenix and Washington did so the jury is still out. Let's see if the top two lines stay in place for a few games. Let's see if Malik and Hossa continue to sit and that Dawes continues to get meaningful ice time. Let's see if the fourth line continues to go against the other guys top lines. One game does not make me a believer. Let's see.
ICINGS: Joseph Kaiser of the Metropolitan Opera, who is starring in Romeo and Juliet, belted out the National Anthem and I mean belted out. He had to fight off the jerks who continue to chant nonsense during the singing but he received a loud ovation at the conclusion. Much better than John Amirante waving his arm to stir up an already rowdy crowd. The National Anthem deserves respect and not some inane chant.
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