Wednesday, February 11, 2009
A couple of fights, overtime, a shootout, and the New York Rangers actually scored 4 goals en-route to a much needed 5-4 shootout victory over the Washington Capitals. Ryan Callahan's goal in the shootout, off the crossbar, banked in off the back of Jose Theodore to send the Rangers faithful home in a happy mood.
Where to start? Well, I guess it starts with Colton Orr facing off against Donald Brashear early to excite the crowd. Seconds later, Aaron Voros and Matt Bradley went at it as well. At least you could say the Rangers were ready to do battle one way or the other and knew this was a big game for the Blueshirts considering how horrible the team had been playing. It started well with Ryan Callahan driving to the net and deflecting a gorgeous pass from Lauri Korpikoski to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead. Thomas Fleischman evened it up at 1 and later in the 1st period Eric Fehr banged one in to give the caps a 2-1 lead going into the 2nd period. What bothers me is both goals could have easily been prevented if the players on the ice would just stop acting like they're back in pee-wee hockey and each take a man, stick with him, and stop staring at the puck! Both goals were scored by a Caps player who was covered, but for some reason was allowed to freely head to the net. Sorry, but intelligence is also part of the game.
In the 2nd period, Korpikoski blocked a Ranger point shot and turned and blasted the puck by Theodore to tie it up at 2. Washington's D-Man Mike Green gave the Caps a lead (Again, Rangers watching the puck, not the man) and then Rangers D-Man Paul Mara - who played a strong game - wound up on a slapper that tore into the net to tie up once again. Later in the period, Nigel Dawes fooled me as I thought he was going to take the puck around the back of the net, but he threw it in front to a crashing Markus Naslund (literally) and the puck went in giving the Rangers a short-lived 4-3 lead. Unfortunately, that man Mike Green scored again on a slapshot for his 21st goal of the season... that's right, a D-Man with 21 goals and the Rangers team leader has 17! Ouch! The goal itself, to me anyways, should have been stopped by Lundqvist. Not a great angle and he went down way too soon. Hey, I often praise the King and sometimes he deserves a little criticism (Not very often though).
In the 3rd period, the Rangers had the best chance to put this game away. They had a PP and then Naslund got clipped in the face with a high stick during the PP. Unfortunately, the boys couldn't even get the puck to a Caps player that would have given the Rangers at least a 2-man advantage for over 50 seconds. Once again, here's where Hockey IQ is supposed to click in, but it didn't. The Rangers ended up wasting valuable time and eventually the Rangers got 36 seconds of a 2-man advantage thanks to the 4:00 high sticking penalty.
The worst part of the night for the Rangers was the powerplay. It was, simply put - horse****. After watching it, I thought about all the people who think it's the coaching. Are you kidding me? You saw it, I saw it. Anyways, enough of that. In the end, the shootout had its moments and when Nigel Dawes scored, it was up to Ovechkin to keep it going for the Caps. Well, he certainly did so in ripping a 5-hole shot through Lunqvist's legs. That's when Ryan Callahan became the hero for the night, scoring the GW goal in the shootout.
My overall take on the game is that it was a very entertaining one. Fights, hits, goals, and for the first time in a while the Blueshirts really looked ready (Well, at least some did). You got to love the fact that the lesser knowns stepped up: Callahan, Korpikoski, Dubinsky, and Colton Orr. It would be nice to see the top-half players step up and take control of this team and it's destiny. Over and out!
Update: Away at Quinnipiac again doing some games on the radio, will answer comments when I get back!
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