It wasn't Matthieu, Matthieu, Matthieu but considering it was only the eleventh game of the season and the Rangers in desperate need of a goal and a new hero, it was quite an accomplishment. Brother Michael would not like that sentence but the results were remarkable. Nikolai Zherdev brought a Saturday night crowd with a Monday morning attitude to its feet by whistling the tying goal past Penguin goalie, and nemesis, Marc-Andre Fleury at 19:51 of the third period. A new hero, Nikolai Zherdev, The Z Man, introduced himself, formally, to the Garden denizens.
The Rangers did a dead man's waltz for the first twenty minutes and cranked it up in the third period by putting 18 shots on goal. Markus Naslund (3) had gotten the Rangers back in the game at the 5:09 mark with a PP goal which perked up the crowd but it looked like the French kid who was making like Jacques "Jake The Snake" Plante in the nets would hold the Rangers off. However, the Z Man would not be denied and may have set the stage for far greater heroics this year.
It was left to Fredrik Sjostrom to win the shootout as the last drama was left to The Prince, Henrik Lundqvist, to stop Sid The Kid, who tried numerous dekes and feints, to no avail. But the night belonged to The Z Man with his fourth goal of the season and may well be the spark this team needs to lift the Rangers and their fans. Who says we don't have a super star. Introducing Nikolai Zherdev, The Z man.
How many souls did the Blueshirts crush last night over on the Penguin blogs?
Illness over at the Pens blog -- ... Pens Lose:
- Ouch. 2-goal lead in the third period disappears.Seth Rorabaugh at The Post-Gazette Empty Netter blog has a great view of the game from his Pittsburgh living room and goes over all the
- Don't even want to look at shot totals for the third period.
- Uneventful games produce uneventful blog posts.
- Point city.
Postgame: This might be the Penguins' most disappointing loss of the season...The Rangers win is a "rancid memory" says Dave Molinari / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette -- Lackluster third turns into loss in a shootout:
Give the Rangers credit for working their way back in this game. How many teams would've curled up and died after not scoring on a two-man advantage like the Rangers had in the second period? ...
If the Penguins win the Atlantic Division by a point, they might feel a little better about the one they picked up last night.Molinari also takes time on Sunday to delve into donating Penguin brains to science (it's Pittsbury after all). If they could get all the Pens to donate their gray matter they might fill a dixie cup. However, Marc-Andre Fleury is running scared about donating. "I would be scared that they'd unplug me right away [and] take my brain out [before I actually died]," he said.
Same way if it clinches home-ice advantage or gets them into the playoffs.
But until then, their 3-2 shootout loss to the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden will stand as one of the more rancid memories of their 2008-09 season.
Hard for them to think of it any other way after they built a 2-0 lead during the first 36 minutes of play -- and still were up by a goal with 10 seconds left in regulation -- but couldn't hold back the Rangers' third-period surge long enough to escape with a second point...