Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Treading on the Predators: Rangers Win 3-0

The Rangers went back to their winning formula last night and shutout the Nashville Predators 3-0 at the Garden. It was a royal, vintage Henrik Lundqvist performance in net, helped by a swarming Rangers defense that limited the Predators' opportunities.

I found the game boring, but that is now part of the grand game plan. Keep the puck along the boards in both ends and tenaciously fighting for possession is the tactical mission statement. The longer it stays in the offensive zone the better, if shot opportunities happen to come along, take them. In the defensive end keep the puck away from Lundqvist and at worst limit the other team to one bad angle shot on the King. Simple. And last night the Blueshirts executed their Tortorella "ground and pound" game plan to perfection.

If Torts could have his way, I bet every Rangers game would look like last night. And if Boyle and Prust could sit on the puck their entire shift Torts would be giving them 35 minutes a night. It was an almost flawless execution of a prevent defense and a three yards and a cloud of dust offense. Legendary Ohio State football coach Woody Hayes would have loved last night's game. Woody's philosophy was, "I will pound you and pound you until you quit."

The fact, that the scoring all came from unexpected sources (Girardi and Mitchell) makes the win even sweeter in the Tortorella playbook. Keeping your top-lines hungry and humble, yet still winning, means you'll get even more out of them the next game. Is this genius or evil genius?

If one thing, John Tortorella is also consistent in his disagreeability. His zinger back at his ultimate boss, MSG Chairman James Dolan, after the game was a classic from the grump-meister. After the game Dolan had said the Rangers were “pretty close” to winning a Stanley Cup. So afer Dolan had left the room Torts quickly had to nip that kind of talk in the bud:

“Like I have my owner up here talking about a Stanley Cup. That’s a bunch of bull----. We need to take one game at a time.”
Perfect. We like nothing better than seeing the invisible one getting slapped down by his hired help. Tortorella knows that the life expectancy of an NHL coach is slightly longer than a Monarch Butterfly. So part of the job description is keeping team expectations low and the employment status on affirmative. Mr. One-Round and Out knows that he better deliver at least two rounds this year or he sleeps with the butterflies.

The Scoring Summary:

G Per Time Str Team Goal Scorer Assist Assist
1 1 06:15 EV NYR Girardi(4) Gaborik(13) Hagelin(7)
2 2 10:42 EV NYR Mitchell(4) unassisted
3 3 19:09 EV-EN NYR Callahan(15) unassisted

Girardi Hat

Blueshirts United:

Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi has received a string of accolades for his stellar play so far this season, not the least of which was his selection to play in the NHL All Star Game next week in Ottawa. However, one accolade had eluded him: the Broadway Hat.
Well check that one off the list as Girardi received the Broadway Hat following the Rangers 3-0 win over the Nashville Predators Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden.

"I think the difference between this year's team and years past is that our resilience this year has been unbelievable," said Girardi following the game. "We have a bad game here or there, but we come right back with a huge win. Obviously Montreal (Sunday night) was not good, but it was a blip on our schedule, that's how we look at that game because of how we answered that tonight. It says a lot about our team."

Girardi logged 25:48 worth of ice-time Tuesday night and finished a +3, on ice for all three Rangers' goals...

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  • Jen9400 said...

    OMG JB I think u and I are sharing a brain sometimes. The hole part about the game plan - I think i had the exact conversation with Jeanine last night. Yes the game was boring. I understand the teams "identity" but there is no "personality" and its a shame. We have a great group of players who have plenty of personality but they have all been forced to conform. One guy may as well be the other. I was never a fan of this type of defensive coaching style, the one size fits all -there's a replacement waiting for you if you don't fit the part mentality. If I was- I would have been born a Devils fan and I would be happily sitting at the rock spewing nonsense like defense wins championships and I root for the logo on the front not the name on the back all while screaming- hey number 26 shoot the puck! But I was born a Rangers fan and as such I feel passionate about the players who make up my team and I believe that there is room for them to bring their individual talents and personalities together to formulate a winning style that promotes excitement and creativity. You just need a coach who is smart enough and has the guts to do it.

    Speaking of disagreeable, I also had the same thought as you on James Dolan's remarks. I thought it was peculiar that he would come out of hiding just to say we're going to win a cup and I don't buy for one minute that he is out there just to cheer the team on. IMO he covered all of his bases. First he is telling the fans that even though we may not all agree on some of the decisions that have been made it will be worth it if we win the cup. If we win - the team is covered. Secondly, he is telling the coach that if we come up short - he's gone. Dolan went out of his way to praise Sather giving him virtually ALL the credit for the teams successes this year and threw in "and of course good coaching" as almost a side note if you ask me. I don't like Torts much but i do think Torts should be angry. A public ultimatum is not exactly first class but then again it couldn't happen to a nicer guy!

  • Jen9400 said...

    LOL make that first sentence "the whole part" rather than the hole part. There are no holes in your writing!

  • Section 335 said...

    The Rangers are the new Devils. Great goalie, great defense and the occasional goal.

    I once called them the Ranvils, I actually think the Revils sounds better, The New York Revils!

  • jb said...

    Jen9400, Thank you. It's nice to have at least one happy reader in Rangerland. I like your analysis of the Dolan-Tortorella Kabuki Theater. Kabuki is sometimes translated as "the art of singing and dancing." Dolan is not a half bad singer. He did the band thing because as he says he "needs balance" in his life, apparently the MSG duties were taking over his life. Now that the his band, "JD and The Straight Shooters" has been inactive for almost two years, he has more time to focus on the Rangers. I guess last night's sound bite was part of his new re-focusing on the Rangers.

    Anyway, we are put in the position of cheering on a team that has to win ugly to prosper. I think that will probably be the title for the next grinding defensive victory: "Win Ugly and Prosper."

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  • jb said...

    Sec 335, It's funny you said that. Because I was thinking of your Ranvils line (that we still use in our contributors list in the sidebar) last night while watching the game. Awhile back I was going to ask you if you wanted that changed, but it has come full circle to being dead on right again.

  • Jen9400 said...

    JB LOL thank you for the link! I am forever changed by JD and the Straight Shooters! I must get on my computer now so I can watch our personality play for the CT Whale. Ah yes. Life in Tortsville.