The Ranger formula for protecting a lead, in effect hanging on for dear life, the old 'rope-a-dope', barely made it last night. Save for the efforts of one Henrik Lundqvist, the Rangers wouldn't look so good in the standings this morning. Henrik was his usual magnificent self, though he seemed a tad tired last night against a struggling Carolina team, 1-10-1 in their last 12. The Rangers riding the strength of Lundqvist's 48 saves vaulted into a seventh place tie with the Islanders, two points behind sixth place Ottawa and four behind fifth place Toronto with an away and a home date coming up next week against the Leafs.
The Canes launched 89 shots at Lundqvist. Eighteen missed and twenty-two were blocked. That's a lot of rubber. Could of used it during World War II. A tired Ranger team gave up 21 shots on goal in the third period. Girardi logged 27:48 and new kid John Moore got all of 7:17. Boy that honeymoon didn't last long. Even Lundqvist admitted to being tired. The coach was effusive in his praise for his franchise player: "That's the best I've seen him play since I've been here." Really! Where have you been coach? This goes on every night the guy puts on the pads and the mask. But keep overplaying some players and see how that pans out.
It was the same trio that racked up the goals. Stepan, Callahan and Nash. Boyle scored a useless empty netter at the buzzer. What else is new? The media is singing the party line that the atmosphere in locker room has changed dramatically. Has the coach changed? No! Even Lundqvist stated that, "It's a different attitude in the room... It's just a lot better feeling in here." See what getting rid of a 40 goal scorer can do to a puppet driven team. How's that for loyalty. But hang on to your mask and pads Henrik the next time you let in a softie and lose one. Then you'll really find out that nothing has changed . The more things change the more they stay the same.
Jesse Spector / Sporting News:
Off the block
One of the complaints about using blocked shots to measure defense is that a team with a lot of blocks tends to not have the puck very much. The Toronto Maple Leafs, for instance, lead the NHL with 621 blocked shots this season, but also is the second-worst possession team in the league.
So, how about blocked shots as a percentage of opponents’ shot attempts? The Philadelphia Flyers allow 54.9 shot attempts per game and block 16.3 — their rate of 29.7 percent opponent shot attempts blocked is tops in the league. Considering that the Flyers have allowed the sixth-most goals in the NHL, such a figure would suggest a lack of correlation between blocking shots and quality of defense, regardless of issues surrounding the quality of goaltending in Philadelphia.
There still is value in blocking shots, but it should probably only be part of a team’s strategy. Ron Hainsey leads the league with 99...