Sunday, October 26, 2008

Z Man To The Rescue

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.

ICINGS:
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.
- Don't even want to look at shot totals for the third period.
- Uneventful games produce uneventful blog posts.
- Point city.
- Vomit
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 gory glorious details of the Rangers comeback win. Seth happens to think the "LET'S GO RANGERS!" song is stupid, but he kindly provides a Youtube video of it. Penguins at Rangers live - 10-25-08:
Postgame: This might be the Penguins' most disappointing loss of the season...

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? ...
The Rangers win is a "rancid memory" says Dave Molinari / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette -- Lackluster third turns into loss in a shootout:
If the Penguins win the Atlantic Division by a point, they might feel a little better about the one they picked up last night.

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...
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.



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11 comments:

  • Anonymous said...
     

    Need to move the "Z Man" back to Dubi/Voros line. Prucha has played 2 games with some jump so move him to Drury/Nasland line. Thoughts?

    -Dan

  • blow-me-down said...
     

    Well said, Mike. This kid never quits, he is so much fun to watch. Oh, he has some skill too...

    The team sucks bad on the powerplay. Could coaching be the problem here with something that simply has to, must with no excuses, improve?

    If we could get some 'chaos' into our powerplay, I think Drury's current problems would go away too.

    As for the line suggestion, might be okay. I don't spend much time analyzing line combinations, but I would actually like to see another try at Gomez with Naslund. Unless is proven that Naslund is not fast enough, I'm still guessing. I'm not yet convinced that Naslund will not improve and become a guy Gomez can dish the puck to.

    Myself, I'd like to see Prucha playing every night. Always have.

  • jb said...
     

    Prucha has such a great potential upside. You have to wonder if Slats is simply afraid that if he deals him away, that it may go down as a bad move that haunts him for a long time. Especially if Prucha finds his groove and starts getting 25-35 goals a year.

    I like the idea of keeping Z-Man with Dubi/Voros. And moving Prucha around, if he finds a home he will be dangerous. The same applies to Gomez, he needs to find a home. He keeps skating very well and setting guys up, who so far aren't closing the deal.

    Can a Renney who really did suffer some minor brain damage when he was knocked out get all these moving parts to come together.

    At least they do have some entertaining games and are finding a way to win when getting the great play from Lundqvist & Valley.

    I think Naslund might turn out to be this year's Shannan. By that I mean Shanny had 23 goals/23 assists last year. Naslund was 30/35 last year, but at the rate he's going after 11 games (3/6) he'll hit 23/45. I called Shanny slow, but he was 38 last year, Naslund is 35.

  • Section 335 said...
     

    Call me crazy, but I put my best wingers with my best center and call that the 1st line. Gomez is my best center. I pay him $8 million - 5th highest salary in hockey. I should make every penny count. My best wingers are Z and Nasland. This is my first line.

    I know the arguments for splitting up my best players. I do not agree. My other players should be good enough to carry themselves.

  • jb said...
     

    Sec 335,

    I think if I were Gomez I'd want Z Man on my line. I think all the Rangers forwards would want him on their line.

    At this point I think an argument could be made that Dubi might be their best center. Stat's wise Dubi is (4/7) vs. Gomez (2/7). Granted it's early and I like Gomez, but I don't think he's the 5th best player in the league. I think he is overpaid. That's not a knock, we should all be so lucky.

    Also, my above numbers for Naslund last year were wrong. He only had 25 goals and 30 assists for 55 points with Vancouver. Wishful thinking I guess. Shanny was also knocked out for a bunch of games last year. So I think if Naslund can come close to filling Shanny's shoes we should be happy. Which, begs the question, if the Rangers wanted Shanny numbers why not go with him instead of Naslund?

  • Section 335 said...
     

    As much as I like Dubi, and that is a lot, I cannot see the argument that he is better than Scott Gomez at this point in his career. If you use statistics, then you cannot make a solid argument based upon 11 games this year. That is too small a sample and their stats are close. Look at the 82 games last year, where Gomez doubled Dubi's assists (54 v 26). Frankly, forget the statistics. Just look at what Gomez can do on the rush or with the puck in traffic. He may be overpaid, but of all the overpaid Rangers I am glad he is here.

  • mike said...
     

    To all-Apparently The Z Man draws a lot of attention, on and off the ice. My thoughts are you put your best together and play them at critical times. I would play the Z Man with Naslund and Gomez.

    I never gave up on Prucha. So put Prucha on with Dubinsky and Voros.

    Have Drury center Dawes and Callahan. If this doesn't work after a while bring back Shanahan. He can still shoot the puck and Drury can pass.

    Is Gomez overpaid? Probably. But who is more overpaid on the Rangers than Redden and Rozsival. Neither is worth the money. Rozsival has already been demoted to the second pairing. He should be traded before his value drops too much. Trade him and use the 5.5mil to go after Sundin.

    Good comments guys. Thanks for the input. Now lets go get the Islanders tonight at LI.

  • Section 335 said...
     

    Redden is overpaid, I agree - but he makes a really good first pass out of the zone. What an upgrade over Malik!

    Fishsticks!!

  • blow-me-down said...
     

    I would put the Gomez-Naslund-Drury line together and leave them together for a stretch. Overly optimistic or not, these three should be able to mesh again. With the defense playing so well (and subsequently less requirement for goals), maybe we get by with the output of Z-D-V and whatever else comes.
    I say all this only because I think it is too early to vanish the Gomez-Naslund-drury line.

    As for Shanahan, without having even seen this guy go through preseason, is he playing like he did mid-season last year (pretty useful) or like he did end of season (pretty bad).

    I hope they come out hard against the Isles.
    Let's Go Rangers!!

  • mike said...
     

    srction 335-An upgrade at one helluva price.

  • mike said...
     

    blow-me-down-Don't have any big disagreement with you but I believe that Drury is a better center than a wing.

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