The Rangers kicked off the 2009 home season in sterling fashion tonight by dismissing the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-0 in front of a howling and chanting crowd that spent most of the third period serenading Sidney Crosby. The night was real special as the Rangers scored two power play goals, shutdown the Penguins power play, (0-8), and in the process scored a shorthanded empty netter by Scott Gomez (8).
Nigel Dawes (7) and Paul Mara (3) each scored a power play goal and Chris Drury (11) scored at even strength. Henrik Lundqvist posted his first shutout of the season, made 27 saves and became only the fifth goaltender in NHL history to win 20 games in their first four seasons. He made a couple of sensational saves early on against Crosby and Malkin that easily could have changed the outcome of the game.
The game also featured a personal war between Colton Orr and Brooks Orpik, with both exchanging elbows and only Orr getting caught and penalized. The culmination was a heavyweight brawl between Orr and Eric Godard that put the icing on a feisty game. The win propelled the Rangers back into the lead in the Atlantic Division, one point better than the Flyers who have two games in hand. It also jumped the Rangers from sixth to third in the Eastern Conference.
The game was the Rangers finest of the season. Can it continue? Who knows. For one thing, coach clueless kept the line combinations in place for the entire game. That helps. However, Lauri Korpikoski who had been promoted to the number one line just the other day, sat this game out. Petr Prucha, who had an assist on Drury's goal, played his third straight game. How long will that last? One other thing. The Penguins seemed to be a shell of their past selves. This was there 11th loss in their last 15 games. Yes, Gonchar has been out a spell and they seem to miss role players like Malone, Roberts and Armstrong. However, they still have a load of talent, and Crosby and Malkin are two of the best in the league. However, tonight the Rangers turned it up a notch and totally outplayed them. Can we keep it going?
Eric Godard vs Colton Orr -- 7.7 rating. Who won?
Colton Orr -- 81.4%
Draw -- 11.6%
Eric Godard -- 7.0%
Orr Continues to Puzzle Godard -- If there’s one fighter in the league that knows how to generate a winning game plan, it might be Eric Godard. Always one to put strategy to use, Godard has been known to be able to slay some seemingly unbeatable monsters in recent years - most notably Derek Boogaard and Steve MacIntyre.
However as it is with most fighters, many have a rival that always seems to get the best of them. In this case, it would be Colton Orr that has Godard’s number...