Sunday, January 11, 2009
After giving up 6 goals at home against the Montreal Canadiens, the New York Rangers tightened up the D and have gotten off to a great start on their road trip by taking 3 of a possible 4 points in their first 2 games. These points are ever so important as the Rangers have lost control of first place in the Atlantic division - but are still battling to stay at or near the top. Trust me, 3 points on the road is a good thing!
The Rangers started the road trip with a 2-1 shootout loss against the Buffalo Sabres. Although they lost, the Rangers played a pretty solid road game in front of backup goalie Steve Valiquette (who played well). The Rangers just failed to get the rubber by Buffalo goaltender Ryan Miller in the SO with, let's be honest, 3 lousy attempts by Zherdev, Naslund, and Drury (I don't understand why people don't shoot more, rather than deke). Overall, a point is a point and they all count. The offense was still a continuing problem (haven't we heard this before?). The D played well and 44 shots is a good sign, I think? Now, on to Ottawa...
With the King well rested, the Blueshirts played the Senators tough with timely scoring by Brandon Dubinsky and Lauri Korpikoski. Henrik Lundqvist turned aside 33 shots for his 2nd shoutout of the year and the Rangers walked out of Ottawa with the 2-0 victory. The team played well overall, but I got to give props for the play of the youngsters who night in and night out have been the better Rangers players. The 3 that stand out most to me as of late are Prucha, Callahan, and Staal. It was also nice to see Korpikoski and Dubi break the ice with goals (Boy, was Dubinsky in a slump).
It was also interesting to see how Chris Neil of Ottawa tried and really did take advantage of a few Rangers players (Prucha & Staal). But, when facing probably one of the most honest tough-guys in Colton Orr, he declined. I'm not here to say Neil chickened out (he is a legitimate tough-guy himself)... but you make the call. Also, I would like to comment about the Rangers streak of not taking a penalty in Buffalo and most of the Ottawa game. I guess Renney's comment struck a chord with the referees after the Montreal game. I personally am here to tell you that no matter what era or decade of hockey - It's impossible to play this game without penalties. How the Rangers got away with it is beyond lucky. Fortunate? Absolutely. The Rangers will get a good rest and off to Long Island to face the hated Islanders. So far, so good!
Lastly, I just wanted to say that it's a sad day for Rangers fans as Brendan Shanahan has decided to sign with his first NHL team and hated rivals, the New Jersey Devils. Shanahan was a good player for the Rangers and one of the key players in the post-lockout Rangers revival.
Over and out!