The Rangers may have played their best game
to date against the Senators at the Corel Center in Ottawa Saturday Night.
The Rangers at one point in the game were down by a score of 2-0 and
mustered enough resiliency to fend the Senators offense off for both the
final period and overtime. New York gained a tie on the road and that's
always a positive especially for a team struggling to find their identity.
The Rangers gave up the first goal about
midway through the first period on a 5 on 3 powerplay goal by Shawn
Mceachern. The second period however was a different story. The Rangers
actually dictated the play and displayed some of their best hockey of the
year up until the Sens increased their lead to 2-0 in the on a late goal
by Daniel Alfredsson. The goal was a gift courtesy of Ranger defenseman
Vladimir Malakhov who went up the middle in his own zone rather then
taking 2 strides forward out of it.
The second period also saw the Rangers lose
the services of their Captain Mark Messier who left the game with after
sustaining bruised ribs. However the Rangers showed rallied the troops and
showed a bit of moxy in the third period by Getting goals by Mike York and
Petr Nedved forcing the game into an overtime session with the score dead
locked at two apiece. After regulation. The Rangers were definitely paying
to win but it was not to be this night in Ottawa. Theo Fleury had a golden
chance for an overtime winner for the Rangers but was stoned by Senators
goalie Patrick Lalime.
Darren Van Impe made his Ranger debut on
the backline in the wake of the dual seven game suspensions that
defensemen Igor Ulanov and Dale Purinton received following Wednesday
night's game against the Capitals at MSG.
The Rangers Defense didn't look horrible.
The Rangers managed to gain a point on the road against a team that is
better then them. Richter returned back in goal ending speculation his
knee was acting up. The Rangers were down two goals and came back to tie.
They outscored the Senators 2-0 in the third period another good sign.
They played a good second period. Their
penalty killing looked a tad better when you compare it to the previous
game against the Caps. The Senators went 1 for 5 on the PP. In addition
the Rangers got 34 shots on net. Not too shabby. Rangers were great on
The Senators are a team that matches up
well against the Rangers defense. They are a finesse team with no bangers
or muckers. So don't get too psyched about this Ranger performance. The
Rangers might have managed to win this game if it hadn't been for
Malapuke's moronic giveaway at the end of the second period. Richter is
still giving up way to many rebounds and his stickhandling like always is
atrocious. Plus the stupid penalties continue to haunt them. The Rangers
Powerplay was terribly ineffective against a very Bad Senators
penalty-killing unit. The Rangers could not score on a 4-minute powerplay
Messier- He played for two periods before
sustaining a rib injury. Still playing mean. Bad giveaway in second
period. 0 shots on goal in the two periods he played in.
Malhotra - He had a decent night.
Ironically drew a penalty on a crosscheck after his line had the worst
line shift of the game in the 1st period. Made some noticeable hits.
Dvorak- Steady. Played both end of the ice
very well. Continues to be a catalyst for offensive chances.
Ciger - Excellent game. If he plays like
this more often I will have to eat a lot of crow. Made a nice pass to
Berard in the first period. Followed it up by making a tremendous play in
the third period that led to Nedveds tying goal. He shook off a check
along the boards from Senators defenseman Sami Salo and made a terrific
pass to Nedved who scored.
Nedved - He scored his first goal of the
season. He finished for the first time this season.
Grosek - Really was not all that involved.
Got short end of stick when lines were juggled after Messier injury.
Lindros - Great on face-offs. At one point
was 5-0 on draws. Overall good game. Made a nice rush along boards. Also
almost scored on a tip shot from point. Good work ethic that that led to
Rangers first goal. Knocked Chara off his skates with bodycheck. Was a +1
on the night.
York - Showed why he shouldn't be buried on
the 4th line. He scored a goal and was a +1. Also adds a bit of a
backcheck on a line that sorely needs it.
Fleury - Held without a goal for the 4th
game in a row. Did however record his first point of the year. Got robbed
on overtime shot by Lalime. Got whistled for yet another stupid penalty
when he tripped up Marian Hossa in third period. Had a +1 plus/minus
rating for the night.
Johansson _ Unsung hero of the game. Drew
two penalties. Worked every shift. Had a nice slapshot that lead to a
Heisten scoring opportunity. Look comfortable after being switched to
center. Played on shorthanded unit as well.
Heisten - Looked solid. Had couple scoring
chances. Made a nice defensive play in which he fed puck back to Richter
for a face off during pressure.
McCarthy- Not hitting at all. He would fit
in a lot better on a 4th line that played very well Saturday night if he
just would throw the body a whole lot more often then he does.
Leetch - Average night for Brian. Blocked a
shot in first. Made one bad play on a drop pass to nobody in first period
that lead to offensive counter for Senators.
Malakhov- Paired with Leetch for first time
this year. He looked almost average until his moronic giveaway at the end
of the second period that led to an Alfredsson goal. Also got burned by
Martin Havlat at the end of overtime but was saved by the buzzer. Maldogs
ridiculous give away in the second period in combination with him being
totally non-existent offensively on even strength or the powerplay reduces
his performance to sub par as usual.
Berard - Played very well. Had 6 shots on
net. Made a nice one time shot on PP in first period. Looked a lot better
in his defensive zone also. Was paired with recent call up Darren Van Impe
Van Impe- Did what is expected. Didn't
stand out negatively. For a Ranger defenseman that's an achievement.
Smrek - He actually looked composed. He
played a steady game. He made a couple of nice moves to break up plays by
Karpa - 50/50 50 was good. 50 was bad. For
David Karpa lately that's a success story. The good was he started a nice
rush with a pass. He got in the way of a couple of the oppositions shots.
The bad was David got caught out of position several times. One occasion
things got so bad Petr Smrek had to take a penalty to save his ass.
Sam and J.D Propaganda report -
John Davidson's partner was not Sam Rosen.
Rosen was on assignment doing football. John Wischusen replaced Sam in the
broadcast booth. I wanted to strangle Wischusen by the third period as he
kept using the same phrase "He ladles the puck" about a good
half a dozen times up to that point.
Davidson was no angel either. He got caught
doing a flip-flop in the second period by announcing the Messier/Malhotra/Dvorak
Line was the Rangers best line in the game. Five minutes later he was
exclaiming The Lindros line was. I am now positive he just opens his mouth
just to fill up the dead air.
He also pulled off another nice J.D gem by
letting us all know that Sandy McCarthy conditions himself in the off
season "With a Guru in the Carolinas". Will somebody inform this
Goober of two things? I find it a real longshot that the Dali Lama (a
Known Guru) has ever participated in the personal training of Sandy
McCarthy and secondly inform J.D that the Carolinas are a region not a
State. Now you might say I'm nit picking on poor old Walrus Puss. But I'm
not. I'm just trying to save J.D from coming off sounding like a complete
dork in the future.
Don't get too excited about this tie
against Ottawa. This match-up played to the Rangers favor. It's a perfect
example of why the Senators got bounced in the first round of last years
playoffs. They have no grit or tenacity. The Rangers defensive pairings so
far have succumbed to every heavy forecheck they have faced. They faced
one all night against Ottawa and got nabbed for a penalty on it.
They however stuck it out. Got two goals in
the final period to tie. For that alone they should be praised. The lines
showed some chemistry for the firs time. Overall the Rangers got a tie on
the road and that's mission accomplished in my book.
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