NYR 4, Maple Leafs 1
I could get used to this. Seven wins in a row. Official recap here.
The red-hot Rangers brought a complete game to the Air Canada Centre tonight against the ailing and sorry-ass Leafs, leaving the building with another dominating performance against the league-wide and Ontarian city-wide embarrassed Toronto franchise. Leaf fans finishing their sushi platters only realized this with five minutes left in the third period, as the polite folks of Ontario proceeded to 'boo' their own team. (and you cannot blame them having paid $250 dollars for a 300 section seat). So for the Rangers - that makes seven wins in a row, a first place team in the league and, most importantly, another blow to Brian Burke's Bionic Magnum Opus.
The irony of it all. Listen, I am not buying into the hype of our Blueshirts being unstoppable -- they played strong and as-they-were-told-to-by-Torts, but the irony of how during the off-season the Leafs were to become the team it was always destined to be, almost crowned a playoff-contender by blowhard'ing Brian Burke; on the flip side during the same off-season, the Rangers and GM Glen Sather were horribly criticized having done a terrible job paying for the injury prone Gaborik (knock on wood) and re-vamping the team, generally ranking the pre-season Blueshirts somewhere in the low 20's, missing the playoffs and many players (mostly Sean Avery) unable and unwilling to adapt to a coach Torts system. It's a long season, but how wrong they were.
To some degree, I think even Burkie was buying into all his own verbal swill. Remember the pre-season quotes?
The Star, June 24, 2009, before the season begins:
General Manager Brian Burke is about to begin remaking the Toronto Maple Leafs and will use every tool in his arsenal – draft picks, salary cap space and trades – to build a team that will hit and fight. "Our goal is to make the playoffs next year, we're going to have to make some changes to do it," Burke said yesterday. "We're going to be a different team. I like a lot of hitting. I like a lot of fighting. It will be a more hostile group in the fall."It appears the only hostile group right now are the fans. The above quotes cracked me up re-reading them, because the The Leafs that we beat twice now were completely non-physical, with the exception of a taunting (very sad in dark blue) Colton Orr getting refused by a largely well skating Donald Brashear. Burke was right in that these Leafs are very different - they look worse than they ever have - far from playoff contender and, truthfully, a creation of the man that created them - a Burkie Frankenstein hockey team. It could be said that various limbs have been sewn together through free-agency and trading to create a 'hitting and fighting team, just one without any support on the blueline and missing a goaltender resembling elite status. This 'Burkie form of the Leafs' just doesn't have enough weapons, they don't get enough shots on net, they can't finish a play and they gave up too many opportunities. With the exception of our Lundqvist in net, I very well could have been describing the New York Rangers of last season. Again...how ironic.
If you tuned in to Leafs Nation during the game, you could count on both hands how many times broadcasters mentioned how Phil Kessel in November will supposedly turn around this shabby franchise, one of the many reasons why they haven't performed and fully justifying why Burke-brain gave away all their draft picks for years to come. One word comes to mind. Jackass.
So back to the Rangers.
CAN YOU BELIEVE IT RANGERS FANS? I couldn't be happier -- not only for the standings, SEVEN WINS, but mostly because of the possibilities of this team. The defensive corp continues to impress, scoring goals and controlling the neutral zone.
Brandon Dubinsky had a goal and an assist. Marc Staal, Michael Del Zotto and Enver Lisin also had goals for the Rangers (7-1-0). Marian Gaborik added two assists to give him points in all eight games he's played since joining New York over the summer. Henrik Lundqvist remains a rock in goal -- The KING made 34 saves and continues to demonstrate elite status in the league.
I enjoyed the game thoroughly -- and I felt that the Blueshirts mostly controlled the pace of the game throughout. This was not the Blueshirts that opened the new season, and if not addressed by the Torts machine we could be headed in the wrong direction (i.e. losses) -- but I suspect Tortorella is aware that we allowed the Leafs to build some confidence in this game. In the end, two points is two points. The Rangers won and they earned it.
I will add that there have been too many opposing rushes at our prize goaltender, Henrik Lundqvist, and one of these games someone will damage The King -- there has been virtually no retaliation for hitting or running into Henrik over the last four games -- and maybe it's time for our newbie 'D'-men to grease up their knuckles and show more than their ability to score goals. It's time for some PIM's.
MAKE THEM PAY WHEN THIS HANDLE YOUR GOALKEEPER!
Monday night will be a different level of game against the San Jose Sharks. The West Meets The East, as we attempt to continue the winning streak against the projected Stanley Cup winners.
See you then...and a big jovial 'LET'S GO RANGERS' to get you to bed.
(and having a better day than Burke today)