Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Sparkling Callahan

No, I am not talking about some vintage wine. I am talking about the 24 year old Ranger forward from Rochester, New York, who more than any other Ranger has fit right in to John Tortorella's high uptempo system. Callahan scored his 17th goal last night, the Rangers third of the game, in typical Callahan fashion, right in front of the net. He has been a whirling dervish and Tortorella has rewarded him with first line assignments and power play time both almost non-existent under the old regime.

Last night's thriller was an old fashioned punch, counter punch game and one of the more reliable of all the Rangers, Henrik Lundqvist, almost blew it. He gave up a real softie to Andrei Markov to tie the score late. In the shootout he allowed two of the three Canadien shooters to score which was quite uncharacteristic for him. However, for a change the Rangers picked him up, by scoring three for three in the shootout. So turnabout is fair play. Lundqvist has bailed this team out on more than one occasion.

The Rangers seem to be peaking at the right time and with just 11 games to go the timing couldn't be better. The Rangers have a four point edge over ninth place Florida and are two points behind Pittsburgh and Philadelphia which are tied for fourth. Fourth would be a great finish for the Rangers, which would guarantee home ice for the first round. It's amazing what a new coach with a new system can do. Of course, having a dynamo like Ryan Callahan helps quite a bit. He is the ever-ready battery of hockey.

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