Saturday, March 24, 2012

Hanging Tough: Rangers 4, Leafs 3

The Rangers pulled another win out of their Broadway Hat in Toronto. They defeated the Maple Leafs, 4-3, on a shootout winner by Ryan Callahan.

Who would have guessed at the start of the season that the Rangers would have 101 points with 7 games remaining? A remarkable achievement by a resilient and tough team. Especially since they have been running on fumes the last couple of weeks. This is the most points since the 1993-94 season, when they played 84 games, and ended with 112 points. They had an even 100 points back in 2005-06, when they were led by Jaromir Jagr.

This was a definitely a trap game against the sagging, but still dangerous Leafs, who had taken 2 out of 3 prior against NY. Torts' decision to start Lundqvist proved to be the correct call. Getting Lundqvist right back in net was the best medicine for his off night against Buffalo.

Early on the game looked to be a repeat of last night's lackadaisical effort. The Rangers again gave up an early odd-man rush, where Kessel set up Franson for the first Toronto score.

Dubinsky plays his best hockey after being chastised. Torts must know by now that demoting and yelling at Dubi for a blown assignment on Toronto's first score would bring out his best hockey. Because Dubi did not sit for long and he scored the Rangers 2nd goal late in the 2nd period. That's a very telling stat, if when Dubinsky scores a goal the Rangers are now 7-1. Tortorella should find an excuse to yell at Dubi and temporarily bench him early in every game. Hey, if it works...

Richards and Gaborik came back after taking last night off. These guys must have an on/off switch. Because they certainly had it turned on against the Leafs. The Richards set up of Gaborik's second goal was jaw dropping. #Sick

The fact, that Richards finally scored in the shootout this season is great news. Having a confident Richards in the playoffs will be key. It also looks like his point production this season will match or come close to his career average. So he's living up to his big contract. #DeliveringTheGroceries

The power play went 0-2. #SOP

I almost fell out of my chair when I saw the new Toronto head coach Randy Carlyle call a timeout and then take out his drawing board to diagram how he wanted their power play run. You mean head coaches actually get their fingers dirty diagramming the power play? I can't say I have ever seen John Tortorella lay his hands on a hockey drawing board during a game for the power play. #WhatMeDiagramAPlay? #Problem

I want to call it shot blocking porn. Because MSG kept showing Ruslan Fedotenko's obscenely stupid sliding attempt at a shot block, where his face ends up in the kill zone. My prediction is that someday the NHL will ban going down on the ice and sliding to block a shot after some player takes one between the eyes and doesn't get up. I appreciated Ron Duguay's comment on the after show, where he said he kept getting injured blocking shots in the juniors so the coach told him not to do it. Great advice for Duguay's hockey and media career, it was wise not to put that face in the line of fire. #PrettyBoy

All in all fans have to feel much better after seeing the Rangers rise to the occasion, and come back to beat the Leafs. The Rangers have been excellent front runners when they get the lead, but getting behind has been another story.

Now how close can they come to that 112 point total of that 1993-94 team?


Marion Gaborik's 2nd goal, off the the sweet dish by Richards:

Scoring Summary:
G Per Time Str Team Goal Scorer Assist Assist
1 1 09:11 EV TOR Franson(5) Kessel(41) Bozak(27)
2 1 12:19 EV NYR Gaborik(36) Erixon(2) Richards(34)
3 2 06:53 EV TOR Crabb(10) Steckel(3) Phaneuf(32)
4 2 15:29 EV NYR Dubinsky(9) Mitchell(11)
5 3 04:19 EV NYR Gaborik(37) Richards(35)
6 3 04:37 EV TOR Connolly(12) Crabb(12) Steckel(4)
7 SO

NYR Callahan
Gabby Hat:

Blueshirts United:
Marian Gaborik was a dominant offensive force throughout the Rangers' 4-3 overtime shootout win at Toronto on Saturday night, so it was no surprise that he went home with the team's postgame Broadway Hat. Gaborik scored two goals -- the first to tie the game and 1-1 and the second for a 3-2 lead -- and used his speed to cause problems for the Toronto defense all evening. He now ranks third in the NHL with 37 goals and needs six in the final seven games to break his previous career-high...

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