Monday, March 8, 2010

Who Won During Oscar Night?

NYR 1,  Sabres 2  OT

Things are hurting at The Garden. 

The playoffs are looking further away from reality, with ridiculous inflated ticket prices in bad times, our star player has a cliched' groin injury, the Olli Jokinen experiment is a bust, the Fire Sather rally had only 100 or so passionate fans bitching about bad trades and an unsavory future, Sean Avery is invisible and doesn't win us games when he's on the ice anymore, Chris Drury left it all on the table in Vancouver and we lost another winnable game making it three losses in a row. 

In dropping to the Buffalo Sabres last night, they looked like the Rangers of two seasons ago - a team that doesn't consistently score and perform under pressure, a team that is so scared to take risks that they spend the majority of the time defending their own zone, at times unable to even clear the puck.  In other words, nail-biter hockey.

Official recap here.

Marian Gaborik was back on the ice last night against the Buffalo Sabres, having slashed his thigh before the Olympic break and during the Games supposedly played despite the injury and further damaging his stereotypical groin (the much known, much-joked-about groin injury while playing for the Minnesota Wild season-after-season).  For whatever reason, Gaborik - much like Jagr in the later years - seemed to have some strange non-scoring effect on his teammates.  While hurt, The Blueshirts managed 16 goals over the two-games prior to the Olympic break and two-games after without Gaborik on the ice.  A strange phenomenon.  Coach Torts attempted to shake-up-the-lines (familiar Renney tactic) to realign the chemistry to no-avail.  Gaborik is obviously in no condition to play as of yet, so it shouldn't take a Don Cherry to tell you to rest and bench the guy.  'Hurt History' is a telling thing.

The scoreless first and second periods were business as usual for Blueshirts fans -- many opportunities on both ends, good hockey followed by horrible hockey (especially the droopy dog second period), until Sabres' Adam Mair gave Buffalo a 1-0 lead with 5:57 left in regulation.  The teams played fairly even, Buffalo trailed 22-21 in shots during the scoreless 40 minutes and had the only two power plays.

Dubinsky rescued the Rangers from a second shutout in two days when he crashed the net and scored his 16th goal to make it 1-1 with 1:23 remaining. New York had gone 149 minutes 30 seconds without a goal, dating to the second period of a 5-4 home loss in overtime to Pittsburgh on Thursday night.

'Team In a Box' Henrik Lundqvist was out-dueled by rental-USA Team and full time Buffalo goalkeeper Ryan Miller, Henrik 30 saves to Miller's 35 saves. 

The Rangers (29-28-9) are sitting in 9th place in the Eastern Conference - 2 critical points away from playoff eligibility, with about 4-5 teams all fighting for the 6th, 7th & 8th slots.  The odds are stacked against us as Philadelphia, Montreal and Boston seem to be getting stronger in the league, while we continue to 'change up the lines' and further seek for passion & chemistry.   John Tortorella is beginning to show the hopelessness in his post-game comments, frustration overcoming strategy, but an honesty of how his veteran players are not coming through for the organization.  Sorry Torts, the supernatural Garden curse will always win.

So with a little hope, the Rangers will entertain THE ROCK in Newark on Wednesday and light up the place as we have historically done against the NJ Devils.  DARK will be there hovering over M-ARRRRR-TTTYYYY with two-dozen ribs dangling over the net --- if Avery is no longer willing to go there, I'll do my part.


1 comment:

  1. We were atrocious last night. Lundquist was awful, we have no defense, and it was a complete 2nd period and on breakdown. All is not quiet in the Rangers lockerroom this morning having spent the night in a Newark hotel as part of Torts punishment. Sure that is effective.


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