Tuesday, March 31, 2009
The New York Rangers, looking squarely into the eye of the storm schedule wise, shutout the rival New Jersey Devils by a score of 3-0. I personally thought that this was the game that could make or break the Rangers playoff hopes and the Blueshirts came through with a total team effort.
The kids, Brandon Dubinsky, Dan Girardi, and Ryan Callahan supplied all the scoring for the Rangers. I was at MSG to witness this game and the Rangers did not disappoint! Skating, hitting, and Henrik Lundqvist outplaying Marty Brodeur... and last but not least, Sean Avery (Who once again got no respect from the referees) getting under the skin of what seemed like the whole New Jersey Devil team. After a scoreless 1st period, Brandon Dubinsky showed some skill and savvy as he out waited Brodeur to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead. Later on Dan Girardi blasted a beauty past Brodeur on a nice shove pass by Nik Antropov during a 4 on 4. That was Girardi's first goal in 53 games and as a former d-man, that has to feel real good for Girardi. The third and final goal of the game went to my personal team MVP choice, Ryan Callahan. Callahan's goal, like Girardi's, was fired high past Brodeur. All the scoring the Rangers needed came in the 2nd period as the Rangers sat back a little and the Devils tried to claw back in the game. I thought the Devils actually outplayed the Rangers for the duration of the game, but to no avail as Lundqvist was solid - making the saves look easy.
The interesting part was in the 3rd, when different Devils tried their hand at getting Sean Avery. First, David Clarkson threw Avery down twice like a rag doll - with Avery showing restraint. Brave move by Clarkson, why don't you try that with Colton Orr? Anyways, Mike Rupp also took a shot at Avery at the end of the game and once again Avery showed great restraint. A couple of things come to my mind: give Sean Avery the credit he deserves with the NHL out to get him. He chose not to "dance" with Clarkson or Rupp. When you're winning, there's no need to partake in those types of activities. Also it sure looked like to me that the Devils were easily distracted by Avery's play - it looked very childish on the Devils part. Finally, I do have to question why Avery was on the ice with less than a minute to go in a 3-0 game? Just a thought. Overall, the Rangers passed a huge test. They got a big win in a critical game with playoff implications all around it. Fantastic effort, great night for Rangers fans and now it's off to Carolina. The Hurricanes have been the hottest team in the eastern conference, so it wont be easy. If the Rangers bring the same effort to Carolina as they showed against the Devils, they should be alright.
On another note, the Garden was jumping last night with former Rangers. For me personally I was able to run into and chat with Tie Domi, Ron Duguay, Glen Anderson, Nick Fotiu, Gilles Villemure, Pete Stemkowski, Brad Park and one of my favorites from my rookie year - Steve Vickers. Also, before the game, my wife Lisa and I had the great pleasure of meeting Mark Rosenman. Mark is a huge Rangers fan and is the host of Sportstalk NY, an internet sports talk show that is building a nice fan base. Check it out on Wednesday's at 9 PM! Over and out!