Martin Rucinsky

Another Loss in OT

For most teams, playing at Continental Airlines Arena is a difficult proposition, but for the Rangers it has been something akin to impossible.  In the past 25 regular season games in the Devils home arena, New York is just 3-19-3-0.  So it was somewhat surprising perhaps that Head Coach Tom Renney elected this game to scratch Tom Poti and Jamie Lundmark, and sit starting goaltender Kevin Weekes.  In their spots New York started Maxim Kondratiev, Petr Prucha and Henrik Lundqvist, the latter two making their NHL debuts.  As it turned out, only Henrik Lundqvist had any real influence on the outcome of the game, though he played a limited role in the first twenty minutes of hockey. 

As in the first two games of the season, it was the Rangers who got the first goal of the game.  Jason Ward picked up the puck after Martin Brodeur mishandled it behind his own net and quickly brought it back for the shot.  The goal was initially waved off, but at the next stoppage of play the video replay clearly showed the puck had crossed the line before Brodeur made the save and Ward was awarded his first goal as a Ranger.

The goal set the tone for the visiting Blueshirts, who clearly dominated the first period, but couldn’t extend the lead.  It took until the sixteenth minute of the game for the Devils to register a shot on goal, but it was all they needed to tie the game.  Ranger killer Brian Rafalski sent a shot towards the net and Viktor Kozlov directed the puck by Lundqvist with traffic in front, to tie the game up.   The goal was the only shot the team would allow as they closed the period with a 13-1 advantage in shots on goal.  Perhaps just as impressive was the team’s ability to stay out of the penalty box, not giving the Devils a single chance with the man advantage.

The disciplined approach continued into the second, as the Rangers instead forced the Devils onto the back foot with a string of penalties.  The top power play unit ultimately made the Devils pay on their fourth attempt of the game, Martin Rucinsky converting on the third straight shot in quick succession by the Rangers.  Despite continuing pressure however, the visitors could not extend their lead and had to settle for a 2-1 lead going into the third, and a 26-8 advantage in shots.

With just twenty minutes left in regulation, the Devils came out with plenty of pressure in the third, forcing Lundqvist to make several important saves early in the period.  The pressure ultimately took it’s toll when Michal Rozsival got caught for picking off a forechecker and went to the box, giving the Devils the opportunity to climb back in the game.  A hard shot by Alexander Mogilny was initially stopped by Lundqvist, but the puck sat on the outside of his equipment and rolled in when he moved after the save.  Despite clearly outplaying their opponents, New York now found themselves tied with their division rivals.

Lundqvist made sure that the Devils would not score again in the third, and Martin Brodeur at the other end was doing likewise to the Rangers.  A late power play to the Rangers in particular showed that Brodeur was on his game, with glove saves denying sharp chances to Malik and Jagr respectively.

Heading into overtime, the Rangers again appeared to regain the advantage, putting the pressure on the Devils defense before the Devils’ Viktor Kozlov picked up a loose puck behind the Rangers net and fed it out to Brian Rafalski for the cross-grain shot on the Rangers rookie.

The game was definitely one of lost opportunity for the Rangers, but if the team can take any solace from the overtime loss, then it would be their ability to compete with and in many ways dominate their highly thought of opponents.  Tom Renney and his staff continue to bring well prepared teams to the game, who are ready to play and to work hard at both ends of the ice.

On the other side of the equation is the continuing over dependence on their top line, along with Martin Straka for ice time and more particularly power play time.  At some point Renney will need to start spreading the ice time around more evenly, if he hopes to get through the entire season.

For the Rangers defense, Fedor Tyutin was once again steady while his partner Darius Kasparaitis played within his means for much of the game.  Marek Malik and Michal Rozsival saw plenty of ice time, with the latter assuming Tom Poti’s spot on the power play.  Maxim Kondratiev played in all situations, but registered just 13:28 of ice time.

At forward, it was mostly the top lines that saw the ice, though Dominic Moore and Blair Betts in particularly made the most of their shifts.  Marcel Hossa had his best game so far as a Ranger, demonstrating his strength on more than one occasion as he fought through checks and protected the puck.  Petr Prucha had a quiet start to his NHL career with just 11 shifts on the night.

The Rangers next game will be 1:00pm at Washington on Monday.

OTG Star Rangers
«Martin Rucinsky
««Marcel Hossa
«««Henrik Lundqvist
Report Card
A-Marcel HossaUsed his strength on several occasions to maintain possession of the puck
A-Martin RucinskyScored a goal, and registered 8 shots on goal
B+Blair BettsStepped it up for the game against the Devils, added a little offense
B+Henrik LundqvistLooked poised in net, and stopped 15 of 16 under pressure in the 3rd
B+Marek MalikAnother steady performance for the veteran defenseman
B+Dominic MooreContinues to earn ice time with his effort
B+Martin StrakaHelped set up Rucinsky’s goal with effort in front of the net
B+Michael NylanderManaged to get more shots on net
B+Fedor TyutinQuiet performer on defense
B+Jason WardIndividual effort for first goal of the season, quiet otherwise
BPeter PruchaManaged to earn a little power play time in the third with his effort
BSteve RucchinWorked hard, but didn’t stand out
B-Jaromir JagrRobbed on a couple of occasions by Brodeur on the power play, not quite as sharp tonight
B-Jed OrtmeyerNot much ice time little impact on the game
B-Michal Rozsival5 shots on goal in the first period, 6 for the game
C+Jason StrudwickOne nice play to deny Gionta
CRyan HollwegNeeds to keep enthusiasm in check at important stages
CDarius KasparaitisStop diving and keep your mind on defense Darius
CMaxim KondratievGave the puck away 4 times on the official score sheet, but made at least one nice defensive play
B+Tom RenneyMade examples of Poti and Lundmark and cut down the penalties
Game Notes
Tom Poti and Jamie Lundmark were healthy scratches on the night, Ville Nieminen remained out with a groin injury
Darius Kasparaitis, Steve Rucchin and Jaromir Jagr each wore an “A” for the game
Jason Ward scored his first goal as a Ranger
Henrik Lundqvist and Petr Prucha made their NHL debuts
Maxim Kondratiev played his first game as a Ranger
Statistical Streaks
Games Played
Blair Betts – 3 games
Ryan Hollweg – 3 games
Marcel Hossa – 3 games
Jaromir Jagr – 3 games
Darius Kasparaitis – 3 games
Marek Malik – 3 games
Dominic Moore – 3 games
Michael Nylander – 3 games
Jed Ortmeyer – 3 games
Michal Rozsival – 3 games
Steve Rucchin – 3 games
Martin Rucinsky – 3 games
Martin Straka – 3 games
Jason Strudwick – 3 games
Fedor Tyutin – 3 games
Jason Ward – 3 games
Michael Nylander – 3 games (3 assists)
Martin Straka – 3 games (4 assists)
Michael Nylander – 3 games (1 goal, 3 assists)
Martin Straka – 3 games (4 assists)
Martin Rucinsky – 3 games (2 goals, 1 assist)
Darius Kasparaitis – 3 games (5 minors)
Ryan Hollweg – 3 games (4 minors)
Tom Poti – 2 games (3 minors)
Shots on Goal
Jaromir Jagr – 3 games (12 shots)
Martin Rucinsky – 3 games (12 shots)
Marcel Hossa – 3 games (5 shots)
Marek Malik – 3 games (5 shots)
Martin Straka – 3 games (5 shots)
Fedor Tyutin – 3 games (5 shots)
Michael Nylander – 2 games (7 shots)
Michal Rozsival – 2 games (7 shots)
Games with a power play goal scored – 4 games (6 goals)
Games with a power play goal conceded – 3 games (3 goals)

Games without being shutout – 5 games (3/30/2004 v Devils)
Games with at least 2 goals scored – 5 games

Games since last shutout – 14 games (3/9/2004 v Thrashers)
Games with 4 or fewer goals conceded – 5 games
Games with 5 or fewer goals conceded – 16 games
Games with 6 or fewer goals conceded – 16 games
Games with 7 or fewer goals conceded – 36 games
Games with 8 or fewer goals conceded – 36 games
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