Rangers Rally In Pittsburgh Again, Extend Win Streak To Four

There is something about the third period in Pittsburgh that really works for the New York Rangers this season.  After playing one mediocre and one awful period the team had a furious final 11 minutes in which they turned a 2-1 deficit into a huge 5-2 victory.  The turning point of the game was clearly Matt Cooke’s vicious elbow to the head of Ryan McDonagh(video) at 4:36 of the third.  Cooke was assessed a five minute major and given a game misconduct for the hit.  I expect he will get a lengthy suspension of 7-10 games as well if the league really wants to send a message about getting these hits out of the game.

Following the elbow by Cooke the Penguins would actually gain the initial momentum when Chris Kunitz scored a shorthanded goal beating Henrik Lundqvist on a perfect shot far side, top corner.  The Rangers who were struggling to get anything going got more help from Pittsburgh when Matt Niskanen was called for a double minor as he high-sticked Ryan Callahan across the nose and drew blood.

Late in the 5-on-3 advantage the Rangers tied the game as a Bryan McCabe drive led to a rebound which Marian Gaborik put home at 9:28 of the period.  It was the first thing Gaborik did all day and easily his most important goal this season.  Ryan Callahan struck just 11 seconds later from a bad angle to give the Rangers a lead they would not relinquish.

Derek Stepan would add a rebound goal to seal the game with 1:15 left and then Brandon Dubinsky capped the scoring with an empty-net goal with 40 seconds to go to make it 5-2.

This was a huge win for the Rangers and their third character building triumph in Pittsburgh this season.  The team is now on a season high four game win streak, three points back of sixth place Montreal and six points clear of Carolina in the playoff race.

The Rangers had a slow start in the first period, but they would tally the first goal just over midway through the when Artem Anisimov converted a beautiful feed from Ryan Callahan at 11:20.  Dubinsky with excellent work behind the net eventually worked the puck to Callahan and his saucer pass found Anisimov in front of the net for the finish.

The lead would not last long as Jordan Staal tied the game up at 14:59 on a breakaway goal.  Dan Girardi with a horrible read on the play as he got caught stepping on Alex Kovalev in the neutral zone assuming the pass, which left him trapped too far inside and Staal with tons of room.

You had to expect that the Penguins were going to take every chance to crash the crease considering the questions about Henrik Lundqvist’s neck and Max Talbot certainly made that happen late in the first.  Talbot clearly ran Lundqvist and Ryan Callahan took exception and tossed Talbot to the ice.  Only Callahan was assessed a penalty which rightfully incensed coach John Tortorella.

The second period was an embarrassing effort by the Rangers and if not for the stellar work of Henrik Lundqvist the game would have been over.

  • Henrik Lundqvist’s performance today cannot be understated regardless of the neck issues he was having before the game.  He single-handedly kept this team in the game and gave them a chance for that rally.
  • With each game the love for Michael Sauer grows stronger as he will do whatever it takes to help this team and his willingness to defend his goalie is something the rest of this team needs to learn from.
  • Ryan Callahan needs to be cut more often because each time he sees his own blood he seems to score a goal, so we have to work that into future gameplans.

 

4 Responses to “Rangers Rally In Pittsburgh Again, Extend Win Streak To Four”

  1. Jerry D says:

    What will Mario say about Cook’s hit?

  2. Fotiu is God says:

    Mike, once again you killed it, thematically.

    And once again, Cally, Dubi, The King and Michael “Smart Bomb” Sauer hoisted this club on their shoulders. Playing Sammy to your Dean, I’ll riff about Sauer first.

    Io dio, where we would be today without the latter and his D-partner (as in denying), young stud McDonagh? I’d like to send Slats a See’s Sampler and a dozen long stems for that Scott Gomez trade all over again.

    In closing, to your sports psych mention of leveraging Callahan’s spilled blood, I offer my Fotiu’s Ludovico Technique. The reference, for non-cinephiles or those not fluent in Kubric reverts back to “A Clockwork Orange”.

    As the centerpiece of his psychological torture, er, I mean rehabilitating–tip of the hat to Dick Cheney, Wolfowitz, Perle there for the doublespeak–young Alex (Malcolm McDowell) had his eyelids restrained, forced to absorb imagery that made him sick.

    To coach Torts and Sully: Before they take the ice I’d suggest strapping the forwards and D-men down, then force-feed them a constant loop of Henrik getting gutted by The Habs’ Benoit Pouliot (last week), Pittsburgh’s Obscene Talbot (today), tacked on to years worth of their crease-running, unpunished predecessors. Beuk, Rich Pilon… Anyone?

    Now to you blame-stream media and bloggers who question taking McIlrath, a crease-clearing, goalkeeper (more like franchise) protector instead of Cam Fowler (when we already have a better skating version in MDZ?!), tell me how’d we fare if Henrik had been injured by Talbot.

    • Dave says:

      I don’t think anyone on this blog questioned the McIlrath decision. Others did, but I don’t think myself or Chris (Mike wasn’t with BSB at the time of the draft) ever disagreed with the pick.

      • Fotiu is God says:

        Dave, my hyperbolic pique wasn’t aimed specifically at you or Mike.

        It was more a scattershot response to respective Blueshirt aggregators, if not more than a few TSN, The Hockey News, Hockey Night in Canada commentators and beat writers who questioned the move. Especially once Fowler made the Ducks.

        I’d like to believe McIlrath was Mark Messier’s first pick as our shadow GM. (Doesn’t Moose have a piece of The Undertaker’s WHL/Moose Jaw club?)