NYR 2, Phoenix 3
Unfortunately for the first 50 minutes of hockey out-of-town against the Phoenix Coyotes, the ailing New York Rangers failed to capitalize on not having the local media and fans looking over their shoulders, by losing their fifth straight..
Garbage hockey, simplified.
With the "WTF? Blueshirts" embarrassingly trailing 0-3 until the last 10 minutes of the third period, Marian Gaborik scored on a beautiful two-on-one, followed by a scrappy second goal by Sean Avery two minutes later. What followed were eight minutes of terrific, throw-it-toward the net, forechecking physical NYR hockey -- we owned the last 10 minutes, with a near Gaborik miss with a minute left on the clock. Now this was a team that cared....that is, for ten minutes out of sixty...
...And then we lost. Again.
So guess what disgruntled fans? We are in 12th place in the Eastern Conference!!? 24-24-7 record. Coach Johnny Torts couldn't use the "we just are not scoring goals" talking point after last night as the Coyotes shut us down and kept us in the neutral zone for the majority of the game with less than 10 shots in the first half. The dry heat obviously had an effect on rookie Michael Del Zotto as the first two goals were 'his bad' as he decided to play the puck rather than the body. Backup goalkeeper Chad Johnson - replacing Henrik Lundqvist and his flu - was unable to replicate the 'goalie & blueline as One' that The King brings to every game, but managed well saving every Phoenix attack after his ridiculous debacle of the first period.
Once again Kotalik and Brashear were scrapped, leaving salary cap marinating the bench. The second and third period brought 7 penalties by the Blueshirts and thank the hockey Gods that all were killed, but that seems like the only strength going for this hurting team.
Tonight we play the Colorado Avalanche, and with Henrik still probably out - we need to avoid that roaring downhill snowball effect that seems to be our path. Play well, hold your chin high and remember the basics...don't worry about the fans, don't worry about Larry Brooks and what he writes, don't worry about Torts (he's in worse shape than you).
Play like you mean it, as if your Dad is sitting on the bench watching his young prodigy....impress your imaginary Dad -- mind tricks, anything that works!
Here we go...no place to hide!
Let's Go Rangers!!!!