Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Jagr's Invisible Triumph, NY Rangers 5, Penguins 2

Official recap here.

When you are not able to score traditional goals, why not take the non-traditional approach by lifting the net and scoring on your opponent from behind the net? Such was the case last night against the Pittsburgh Penguins and it didn't count. Damn those replay cameras.

Here is the story of Jaromir Jagr, our dear Rangers Captain, who is unlikely to hit the minimums required to re-sign him after this season and will most likely become a free agent this upcoming July if the Blueshirts do not make it past the first round of playoffs (or the playoffs themselves for that matter). The latter part of this season, we've seen a solid Jags (albeit slow) who is contributing to the team as a whole as opposed to his historical dominating the team in number of points; for example, last evening at the Garden, Jagr set up a brilliant pass to the Sean Avery goal - which was followed by a "Re-Sign Avery, Re-Sign Avery" chant throughout the Garden loyal. In some ways he has become the invisible player -- sometimes actually invisible and non-present and more recently the player willing to make the plays to win games. He is uninterested in the stats, the glory - but you can bet come July 1 he is damn interested in that $7 million dollar paycheck!

On the heels of Captain Jagr is our newest hero Chris Drury who continues to give everything he has to our Rangers -- the Drury investment is paying off as he creates scoring opportunities, makes defensive iron curtains when our own defense does not and is not afraid to place himself in harm's way with seconds left. He is undoubtedly our greatest asset in the long haul and last evening was again not recognized for his efforts in bringing home the win against Pittsburgh.

The NY Rangers remain in sixth place in the Eastern Conference, only three points from not making the playoffs, but last night was pivotal in maintaining our place as all teams competing are five to six points away from each other and all winning games. The Rangers have nine games left, all against division rivals -- which is good news as the Rangers have won more games in our division versus the rest of the NHL.

Last night the score should have been 5-0, as the two goals scored against goaltender Henrik Lundqvist were soft -- both scored on silly mistakes, one by a shift change where not one Blueshirt was available for defense (idiots!) and the other blamed on Tyutin near our own net (but I think it was Henrik's fault for keeping the puck in play with a Penguin on our back). Nice to see Crosby out again and the NHL spending time on other players and, better yet, terrific to see our guys shutdown Malkin (for one game at least).

With less than a month left in the season prior to the official playoffs, we are symbolically already in the playoffs as the race is on. Two losses in a row - as demonstrated this past weekend against Florida crap teams - will be the end of the road for NY, so we will need to see at least five or six wins in the next nine games to ensure our playoff ticket (and the charge to The Dark Ranger's credit card).

Tonight we hit the division leading and top conference NJ Devils of Newark at 7pm. For whatever reasons, we beat them a lot this season and may the trend continue. Onward Fair Rangers!!!


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