Extreme Views by RangerExtreme
The Rangers played one of their best games last night at the Garden Wednesday Night beating the Devils in Overtime.4-3 on a goal by Theo Fleury. Even though their play was a bit uneven at times, New York still got a victory and also managed to exorcise some of the demons that have haunted them concerning the Devils over the past several years.
Mike Richter got his first victory against the Devils after going 0-9-7 in the last 16 games starts and most importantly New York beat the Devils on home ice for the first time since 1997. The game also marked the return of NYR Defenseman Thomas Kloucek who returned to the Ranger lineup about a month ahead of schedule.
The Rangers once again got off to a slow start by managing to only get only one shot goal on New Jersey’s starting goalie Martin Brodeur in the first 12 minutes. The Rangers yet again gave up the first goal of the game as Bobby Holik scored on a rebound shot 10:55 of the first period. The Rangers came back to tie with less then 3 minutes left in the first period with Brian Leetch’s second goal of the season.
The Game remained tied until the very end of the second period when Devils forward Scott Gomez took a 4 minute penalty in which the Rangers reeled off two consecutive PP goals one by Eric Lindros and one by Petr Nedved. After two periods the Rangers were leading 3-1.
But the third period Richter finally succumbed to the barrage of Devils shots giving up two goals to tie both scored by New Jersey Defenseman Brian Rafalski. Sending the game eventually into overtime. The Rangers were horribly out shot 48-30 at the end of regulation time. But the Rangers showed some resilience as they took advantage of a Powerplay 43 seconds into OT when Theo Fleury netted a Powerplay overtime winner ending the game with the final score at 4-3.
Well before the game even started there were already two positives of note to report. Firstly, The return of Thomas Kloucek to the lineup and Secondly the waiving of Forward Michael Grosek.
Once the puck was dropped the biggest positive had to be the end result. Yet another overtime victory for the Rangers and a win on home ice against a division rival. Lindros looked real good. His whole line did. Richter played extremely well especially in the first two periods. Ranger Backliners especially David Karpa blocked a ton of shots. The Rangers got two Powerplay goals breaking a 0-17 slump. Those PP goals were consecutive and took advantage of a stupid four-minute penalty by Scott Gomez. These goals were extremely crucial to the victory.
Face-offs. Bobby Holik completely owned every Ranger center on draws. Even though the Rangers have been good on face-offs so far this year they were completely dominated on Wednesday night. Also giving up almost 50 shots on goal to a struggling Devil team is not a good sign at all. The Rangers defenseman continue to not be able to keep people from out in front of their net.
The Rangers trend of getting off to slow starts is becoming worrisome. It’s not just the fact the Devils like every other Ranger opponent got the first goal of the game. The Rangers managed to muster only one measly shot on goal in the first 12 minutes of the game. Preparation of the coaching staff and player motivation has to be questioned.
Lindros- Great Game. He threw bodychecks. He scored goals. His line had a great game and an awesome second period. He roofed a puck shortside topshelf for his goal. Battled Stevens all night long and won. He also made a nice play to knock Ken Daneyko’s stick out of his hand. He stepped it up big time against Division foe.
Fleury -Also had a very good game. Created chances for his linemates with slick passes and shots. Was robbed several times by Brodeur until Theo eventually beat him for the Overtime winner. Had 5 shots on net. Only negative is he continues to take bad penalties. Took senseless hooking penalty on Petr Sykora that led to Rafalski PP goal.
York- Had a lot of giddy-up in his game. He hustled and was undaunted by the bigger defenseman of the Devils. Him and Theo continue to park themselves in front of the net even though they are the smallest guys on the team. He created scoring chances and had his share of opportunities but was robbed by Brodeur several times. His only negative is he suffers from Mark Pavelich disease. He falls down on his skates way too much when mucking.
Dvorak – Was double shifted as Rangers went with seven defenseman. Contributed with a nice rush shorthanded in which he dished a nice pass to Leetch who couldn’t convert. Had 6 shots on goal for the night. Had a very quiet second period. In third period had great 3 on 2 chance also had a breakaway courtesy of a great Zdeno Ciger pass. Both times Brodeur thwarted him.
Ciger- Looked very good offensively. Made a great pass to set Dvorak on a breakaway against Brodeur. On the negative side, Ciger continues to be on the wrong end of crunching bodychecks. Jim Mckenzie absolutely nailed him in the Second period.
Nedved – Had a very solid game. Maybe the best of the year. Scored on Powerplay in 2nd period with 8 seconds left. Drew two penalties. Including the penalty to Sykora that gave the rangers the overtime powerplay game winner. Still not converting as much as he should though. But his line showed great puck movement and cycled well.
Johansson -Showed good work ethic yet again. Got hit in leg with puck in second period. Leg went numb and had to leave game. Returned in 3rd period.
McCarthy- Good night for Sandy. Although he still needs to bang more. He drew the penalty that turned the game around. Late in the second Gomez got called for slashing McCarthy then mouthed off to the Refs and got another two additional minutes in which Gomez received a additional unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. The Rangers got 2 goals on that 4-minute penalty.
Heisten – Had a fairly solid game. After a shaky beginning when in the First period where he turned the puck over and then had to pull down his man and was forced to take a penalty. His game however got steadier as the game went on. Had a very good shift when he and his fellow linemates pinned the Devils in their zone for almost an entire 45 seconds. Looked good on the penalty kill.
Fata -Killed penalties. Casper the friendly ghost would have been more noticeable but really saw very minuscule playing time
Malhotra- Also played on penalty Kill. No memorable bodychecks. Had limited ice time. Becoming more apparent every game that Manny is yet another disappointing first round Ranger pick.
Leetch- Always steps it up against Division opponents and did so this night. Intercepted Stevens hard around that led to his own unassisted goal. Got stopped several times by Brodeur’s spectacular play. Made great pass to ignite Rangers 1st Powerplay goal. Excellent game.
Malakhov- Continues to be woefully inept. His Horrendous giveaway in the second period led to a Sykora scoring chance in which Vladdy boy had to take a interference penalty to save his ass. His mental game is a real mess for a veteran.
Berard- His Offense was steady. He can and did contribute Offensively. But his Defense continues to be inconsistent and at times out and out bad.
Van Impe- Steady and reliable. Only one shift that he and Berard got pinned and looked outworked. One bad shift is good. Had a nice SOG in which Nedved couldn’t cash in on rebound. Also pinched in for a nice hit.
Kloucek- Excellent return. Knocked Turner Stevenson out of the game in the first period as a result of a crunching bodycheck. Thomas had several nice hits throughout the game. Played more then expected in 1st and 2nd Periods. He even killed penalties. Was primarily rested in third period.
Karpa – Continues to block and get in way of shots. If his positional play were this solid every night he would make a lot of Ranger fans happy. But he still doesn’t bang enough for my liking. Got hit in ear with Neidermayer wristshot.
Smrek – Didn’t try to do too much. Played within himself. And more importantly didn’t make any glaring mistakes.
Sam and J.D Propaganda Report:
Some classic J.D gems came out on Wednesday Night. According to Davidson Vladamir Malakhov slapshot has a short backswing like Bobby Orr’s. Someone please transport J.D back into this dimension. Malakhov and the great Bobby Orr should never be compared NEVER EVER. It’s an insult to Orr himself, Hockey Fans around the world and humanity as a whole. John Davidson also kept referring to Sam as the “Shmoozer”. For those of us who live in N.Y and listen to WFAN know there is only one “Shmoozer” and that is Steve Sommers a local Sports Radio guy.
I think J.D was desperately was trying to give Sam Rosen some kind of nickname or persona. Its too late John. Other than “It’s a Powerplay Goal!” Sam is devoid of any personality in or out of the broadcast booth.
Also Davidson made a completely absurd remark when he said that Richter had not given up any rebounds to speak of throughout the game. No doubt Richter played admirably but Mike looked like he had Everlast written on his pads. He gave up a ton of rebounds from start to finish. Sometimes I wonder if J.D watches the same game as I do.
The Rangers one a big game against a team they perennially struggle against in the Regular season. They won in Overtime and gained two points in the standings against a team in their own division. The Lindros line looked great. Although the Devils were winless coming into the game, The Rangers took care of business even though it took 4 periods and almost 50 shots by the Devils to do it. Bottom line is that the Blueshirts got the job done. They emerged victorious at the Garden for the first time against the Devils in 4 years.