Two of the Original Six put on quite a show at the Garden today and if this was a playoff preview we will be in for one heck of a playoff series. It was an old fashioned rock 'em-sock 'em kind of game where the Bruins out hit the Rangers 49-40, out shot the Rangers 39-30 but fell short in the goals department as the Rangers won it on Nikolai Zherdev's goal (19) with less than seven minutes left in the game, 4-3. The Z-Man has been on a roll since Tortorella became the head coach. In fact, this was the Rangers third straight win and it is amazing how the team has responded to the new coach. It's a difference between night and day. It's a difference between life and death, because that is what the Rangers were - death on ice. How long can it last? Who knows. All I know there is life back in the team and there is life with the fans. The Garden is alive and when it is, so are the Rangers.
What is also encouraging is the fact that the "big guys" are starting to put the puck into the net. Nik Antropov scored his 22nd and first as a Ranger and also had an assist. Gomez got his 15th as did Callahan. Avery got an assist on Callahan's goal and also had three hits. He was also whistled for two minutes on a so called interference with about a minute and a half left to play giving the Bruins one more chance to tie the score. It's doubtful any other player on the ice but Avery would have been called for that infraction. Needless to say he was greeted with ovations when he hit the ice, threw a hit and his name announced for the assist. Nowhere were the boobirds who 'greeted' him in October when he played for Dallas.
The writers picked the stars of the game in the following order: 1. Antropov, 2. Chara and 3. Dubinsky. To me the three Ranger stars were: 1. Lundqvist, 36 saves, 2. Staal, 5 hits and one huge assist, 3. Antropov, 1 goal and 1 assist. Of course one could make a case for Gomez, Callahan, Zherdev or Avery who seems to fire up everybody. No matter, it's now three in a row and at Carolina tomorrow night on Versus.
ICINGS: Sad to hear about Alfie Pike's death. He played on the 1940 Stanley Cup team and later became a coach for the team. He was 91 years old and condolences out to the Pike family. God Bless Alfie Pike.
Alf Pike, Member of Rangers’ 1940 Stanley Cup Team, Dies at 91 --
Nicknamed the Embalmer for his off-season job at a funeral home, Pike played six seasons in the National Hockey League, all with the Rangers. In 234 regular-season games, he scored 42 goals and had 77 assists. He missed two seasons during World War II while serving with the Royal Canadian Air Force.
His death leaves Clint Smith, 95, as the last living member of the 1940 Rangers.
Alfred George Pike was born in Winnipeg and as a boy attended the hockey school run there by Lester Patrick, the Rangers’ longtime coach and general manager. The Rangers signed Pike in 1937, when he was 19. He played for two seasons with the New York Rovers, the minor league team whose games preceded Rangers games at the old Madison Square Garden.
After his N.H.L. career ended in 1947, Pike coached a Rangers affiliate in Ontario.
Harry Howell, the Hall of Fame defenseman, who played for Pike both in Ontario and in New York, said Pike was a demanding coach...