You have to hand it to the Rangers. They know how to screw up the holiday season. Led by the one man wrecking ball known as Ovechkin the Washington Capitals stormed back from a 4-0 deficiet to beat the Rangers in OT, 5-4. Funny about that score. When it went to 4-0 Rangers, number two son said to me and number one son and grandson Nicholas, this game is going to end 5-4. Darn it, it ended 5-4 with the Rangers on the short end. However, there was something in the air watching Ovechkin skating and hitting and charging to the net that you knew something was going to happen, something was going to change.
How do you lose a game when you are up 4-0 about halfway through it? It's simple. You play rope-a-dope hockey, no hitting, a lot of loose passing, backing up in the defensive zone and creating havoc in front of your own goalie. A week or so ago I wrote an article stating that Lundqvist plays well in shootouts because there are no defensemen in front of him during the shootout. The winning goal was a classic example as all four players went into retreat mode as soon as Nylander entered the offensive zone. His deflected pass led to a one timer by defenseman Shaone Morrisonn, his first goal of the year.
After the game, Lundqvist was in a state of shock. He was unhappy to lose a point. Drury was philosophical, stating that the game should be thrown in the garbage and forgotten. He was happy to get the point. Coach clueless remarked that the Rangers didn't manage the game very well. Excuse me. Aren't coaches supposed to manage games?
However, the bottom line is that the Rangers aren't equipped to mount a challenge for the Cup, or for the Eastern title. They will be hard pressed to make the playoffs. Their defense is soft and weak with three marginal high priced defensemen. Also, they don't have a game breaker. Every contender team in the East has a game breaker. All due respect to Gomez and Drury who are excellent hockey players they are not game breakers, just solid role players. Finally, if they don't shore up the defense there is a chance that Lundqvist will break down and give up marginal goals. He has fallen to 21st in the GAA category with a 2.58 and is 20th in save % with a .911. That's been quite a drop over the last couple of weeks. The Rangers fortunes depend mightily on Lundqvist's success.
ICINGS: Cannot figure out for the life of me the benching of Petr Prucha. As an example, what does clueless see in Voros and Sjostrom that keep them on the ice and Prucha on the bench? Trade the kid so he can keep his career going. Better still, get a new coach who can appreciate a young talent like Petr Prucha.
Gomer's lack of productivity is being noted in Rangersland:
*My seat at the Garden is next to a Ranger-hating Flyer fan who just comes to the games because he loves hockey and lives in New York. He made the remark that Scott Gomez was a helluva Devil. And I would have to agree. Unfortunately he is a terrible Ranger. The Mexican't was worthless in this one, collecting a second assist while skating all sorts of circles to nowhere. He doesn't backcheck, his passes are off the mark when he isn't just softly dumping the puck away before he can get hit and he rarely shoots. For seven million dollars a year...Hockey Rodent:
• Scott Gomez is a pussy. Unless he's playing hurt, he's got no business shying away from the checks he should be finishing. Granted, he's not much bigger than Petr Prucha. But at least Kid Kourageous isn't afraid to take Hal Gill into the boards.The Dark Ranger had the pleasure of sitting in section 118 near Rod Gilbert, who did some ranting during the game, including saying:
"A defensive system works when you have defensemen to support it"...The Renney 'defensive' system is to defense, as lap dog is to dogs.
"(shouting angrily) ...don't leave the center open!!!!".....