It appeared the rivalry spirit crept back into the rangers locker room. A response to the dreadful performance against the devils or reflection of the fact that we were playing a weaker team than a few nights ago. No matter, it was a regulation win and one the players don't mind taking.
After a 1st period in which both team showed some resiliency in spite of some loose play, there were some physical play punctuated by the Colton Orr/ Mitch Fritz (both connecting with some big shots and Fritz receiving some consolation embroidery over his right eye) and the Comrie/ Dawes scuffle. The Dawes bout was started by Comrie after a hard check by Dawes along the boards, dropped an islanders forward (Okposo) to a knee. Note: good show by Comrie in waiting for Dawes to get his gloves and good show by Dawes in manning up and answering the call after the check.
After a tough goal off of a forced turnover which saw us out muscled in our zone as Dimitri Kalinen was checked into Drury and a linesmen as he coughed up the puck, the Isles converted for the first deflating goal of the evening., The rangers would have to wait till the second before they could answer on a Scott Gomez goal. At the end of the second, with 12 seconds left to go, the Rangers would find themselves behind again.
In the third, Petr Prucha once again proved that after being benched for near 10 game stretches, he can be the spark for the rangers needed and the nick that started the bleeding for the islanders. As the isles put on a brave face and tried to keep up, it became apparent that their goalie seemed to be coming undone amongst the fray buzzing around the crease as the blueshirts started to pile on the goals.
Official Recap Here
It was exciting to see the offense start to gain confidence. It appeared as the hockey gods finally smiled upon us and almost anything was starting to go in; A big difference from our blood from a stone approach through many of the games this season. However, not to get ahead of ourselves, its impossible for me to ignore some of the facts that were apparent before, during and after our charge toward victory in the 3rd period. We were trailing in the first two periods to the team with the worst record in the league prior to their goalie turning back into a pumpkin as the clock struck midnight (the start of the 3rd period, anyway). This appears to be status quo for the isles, as the announcers kept repeating they're a -25 or so in 3rd periods this season. So was our goal scoring display as hopeful as indicative and hope inspiring as we would like to believe or just conveniently well timed in last nights game? After going up by two goals, we went back into our shell and crawled back in the Tom Renney fetal position and waited for the final buzzer that allowed the Isles to score a goal in the final minute to pull within 1. Thank god we had an insurance goal and only a few seconds to run off on the clock. While we won the period by a wider margin, we only eeked out a win for the game.
The post game comments by Gomez ... " right now, two points is two points and it stopped the bleeding.." hardly leaves me with the impression that the team is licking their chops at the thought of avenging their embarrasing comeback loss at the hands of Ovechkin and the Capitals. I guess we'll find out on Saturday. Till then Ranger fans, a safe and happy holiday to you and yours, enjoy the winter classic and see how many times we have to hear the name or see the face of Sidney "C*cknocker" Crosby in a game he isn't even playing in. We'll compare totals in the new year.