Another day, another game and the same scenario played out for the New York Rangers this weekend. Once again the Rangers played two lousy periods tonight and tried to mount a furious third period rally only to come up short by a 3-2 score. The good side is the same as last night in that this team does quit on a game and had its chances despite only playing 20 minutes to get points out of the game, but the bad is the same that they seem to love sleeping for two periods and battling their ass off for one.
Speaking of repeating patterns twice in the first period the Rangers would give up goals seconds after they finished killing off a penalty. The first was scored by Jeff Carter at 6:14 when he was left all alone in the slot to tip a Matt Carle point shot past Biron. At 14:54 of the period a very similar play would happen as again a player left alone in the slot, this time Ville Leino, takes a shot and it has a deflection off Ruslan Fedotenko and goes in to make it 2-0 Flyers. The first period was so bad that the Garden booed the team as the period ended and it was well deserved.
In the second while on another anemic power play the Rangers would give up a shorthander to Mike Richards off a beautiful play by Claude Giroux at 4:25 of the second to make it 3-0.
There were signs of life at 8:32 of the period when a nice scrum broke out that started with Prust and Powe though those two would never throw a punch. Scott Walker had skated in and then Kris Newbury came over knocked Walker down bringing Jody Shelley over to cross-check Newbury. At that point Brandon Dubinsky literally leapt on Shelleys back like a jockey trying to mount his horse. While that happened Newbury got beat by Walker and then Avery and Carle squared off and like a boxer Avery ducked under and threw a right hand that flattened Carle.
The team would generate some chances late in the second but none that seemed all that threatening. The story of the second though was the fact that John Tortorella finally seemed to have enough of the pitiful results for his star winger benching Gaborik for over 10 minutes of the period and only playing him 2:25 in total for the period. Gaborik would only play 11:38 for the game.
In the third period they would buzz again starting mainly with the first goal on a bad angle goal by Wojtek Wolski. Wolski took the feed from Zuccarello drove in and around the defense and fired “from the side” and had the puck sneak through on Brian Boucher at 9:13. That goal got the place alive again and the team really dominated form that point on.
The same line would combine for the second goal at 11:37 of the period when Wolski and Zuccarello did the work behind the net and Zuccarello fired a beautiful pass out to Derek Stepan for the one-timer to cut it to 3-2. Ironically on the play Nik Zherdev threw the first hit of his career to knock Stepan down and that is what would eventually leave him wide open for the goal.
- When an NHL team only has six forwards play for half of a period that shows you how bad the other six were.
- When Mats Zuccarello threw the body more than any other Rangers player for two periods that tells you all you need to know about the first 40 minutes
- When fans ask why their star winger is being put ON then ice instead of taken OFF that tells you everything
- The Rangers youth are doing their job. If a veteran would like to join it would be welcomed.