NYR 3, San Jose Sharks 7
It looks painful. It was. This was a good fast paced 1st period by two fast paced teams. The San Jose Sharks pushed and pursued our Rangers, upping the stakes by upping the pace. They were on us like... well, like sharks. We responded. A Staal Shot from the point was tipped in Drury for his second of the season. Only seconds later, hard work in front of the net would tip another that was waved off after a quick whistle by the zebras who lost sight of the puck then received an earful from Coach Torts. Once the action was restarted, our boys went back to work. A minute later, that work would pay off for Del Zotto who buried a Kotalik rebound and proved it was a good idea for the Blueshirts to keep him rather than returning him to juniors. That two-goal lead wouldn't hold long though, as the Sharks were determined to get back in this game as San Jose's Staubitz charged down the left side and put a puck under a sliding Wade Redden and right through the static Valiquette. Dany "Anywhere but Edmonton" Heatley would stack another goal on for the Sharks as he battled his way through three Rangers (Apparently all 3 forgot how to use their shoulders) on a Sharks powerplay and chip one through Vailquette to tie the game. (The penalty was taken by Redden- For what? Um, I'd tell you but Versus (in typical fashion) chose not to air the replay so there would be more time for another ENZYTE commercial).
The momentum would carry through the break and into the second period as an old ghost came back to haunt the Rangers. Jed Ortmeyer (yes, ORTMEYER...the once brave Ranger who would dive in front of pucks like they were $100 bills, but couldn't hit the side of a barn with a shot) found the loose change he was looking front for the Ranger net, scoring a dirty one on Valiquette, who lost sight of the puck and was slow to get across the crease. Another weak penalty called on Marion Garborik for tapping the stick of a Sharks player, posted an immediate return as another scramble in the Ranger crease produced another dirty goal for San Jose. It only got uglier from there as another goal was scored on a 2 on 1 that Valiquette didn't seem quite ready for (turns out he was, but just sucked). FIVE UNANSWERED GOALS by the Sharks precluded Valiquette (and his rigamortis) being removed from net for the 3rd.
Henrik got his warm welcome from the Sharks as they scored their 6th, five minutes into the period as his team abandoned him after making the initial save and leaving opposing players on the doorstep. (After primary offender Dan Girardi cruised into the corner after a "good enough" back check, the Sharks decided to build a fire in our crease, sang a few songs and even had time to roast some marshmallows before tapping in the loose puck.) Later, an Avery drop pass for a Lisin slapper from the side boards would net us a consolation goal and was our last desperate attempt at mustering whatever dignity was left as we prayed the clock would be merciful in ushering in the final buzzer. SCREWED AGAIN!!! The Sharks would get it back instantly as a screened shot whizzed right by Lundqvist.
We were indeed got beat at our own game.
Two goals seemed to be enough as our entire team shifted their focus to what they were going to order at the post victory dinner, our second rate backup proved to be just a goalie hologram projected by a laser somewhere in MSG, and the guy with the night off was forced to suit up and take one for the team. Our lack of discipline found us taking more penalties as the team in front of us kept cranking up the pace and we simply couldn't keep up. Our youngsters found themselves in deep water, as the experience and persistence of an elite team proved to be the difference. They circled, laying in wait for our greenhorn mistakes and started to feast as soon as the first drop of blood hit the water on a turn over. Perhaps this was an inevitable and valuable learning experience for our newly exercised youth. But what about everyone else? Does this shalacking provide the humbling experience they need to see that our new found conditioning and a game breaker in Gaborik isn't enough. Sure we got off to a fast start in spite of their pressure in the first period. However where our game stopped, is where San Jose showed they were a more complete team than we were. A few things I noticed tonight:
- Our D-men didn't punish any player that tucked his head down and headed straight for our net.
- Our forwards were battered from pillar to post.
- After the first, we were content to take safe shots from the outside and get rid of the puck as soon as possible, because we knew it wasn't a question of IF we got hit but WHEN and by HOW MANY...
- While Avery's focus on the game is nice and he picked up his points, tonight is a game where his antics could have given us an edge or equalizer. Maybe the knees a little tender, still?
- All the digs and cheapshots a big body like Brashear could throw, doesn't mean squat if its thrown after the play on some insignificant nobody or 'knuckle dragger' on the other team. Hit the guy with the puck.. when it counts!
- There's still one pulsating vein in John Tortorella's head that hasn't exploded yet. But I can imagine he's not done yelling yet, so someone get a mop.
Still green around the Gills,