Wednesday, January 26, 2011

He Giveth and he Taketh Away.


Henrik Lundqvist must have felt as if he was blindfolded for most of the night and by the end... maybe he was hoping for a cigarette and firing squad. The Marksman however might be aiming elsewhere; in the direction of Artem Anisimov.

Read the official recap here.

It was just the night before where young Anisimov would play the hero and lose his goose egg on Shootout tallies... however last night Anisimov would play guest bumper twice on shots that got past Henrik Lundqvist, including the deciding goal. Some, you win and some, you ....facepalm, then sink between two players on the bench hoping to not be seen or noticed, the hope avoid the shower of debris that rains down from the stands... For young Anisimov, this is just one of many stumbles that every player in blue has experienced at some time or another. As long as his gaffes don't come with a signature (Malik, Roszival, Poti, etc) , he'll move on and tweak his game so that they don't happen again.

So much was made of the fact that we didn't play like a team that had went the distance the night before with another team. I can't say I beg to differ, but I did notice that our game wasn't up to snuff. By that I mean, while conceding we played with intensity and energy that has become synonymous with the team. We didn't have the level we needed to beat the team we played last night. The Panther team that came into the Garden last night, started a game with hard checking and muscling players off the puck. Unfortunately for us, their game is much like ours and they knew exactly where to find us. In the corners and along the boards are the places we hope to lure other teams where our cycling around the boards and slight of stick game has the defense moving enough that eventually a lane opens up to the front of the net. Florida brought a heavier checking game than we expected and played us tighter in the places we normally get the most work done. While the scoring for both teams came in spurts, this game was decided on resiliency and ability to adapt. The Panthers for the most part took their game off the boards and up high instead of working in the traffic jam that occurred in front of the net at both ends of the ice. Multiple deflections and weird bounces and screened shots seemed to cause havoc for Henrik most of the night. For the most part, his facial expressions ranged somewhere between "How the hell.." and "SONOVA...". The Returning Del Zotto actually made one or two extra effort plays that would make you think he's found purpose in his game again. Though the team overall seemed to be treading water hoping for a break, there were a players that did stand out out. Avery getting top ice time of all the forwards must have been such a humbling moment for Torts, who eventually had to put all his eggs in one basket to generate some offense with Boyle centering Avery and Gaborik and forcing things down low. The defense picked up and only allowed one shot for Florida in the third. A little deflection and screen from Anisimov would be all that it needed to go in.
As we head to the All star-break, we can perhaps look forward to a week that will give our players the rest and rehab they need... and we'll settle back for a Dive Free Allstar game with both Crosby and Malkin out.

Till Next time Ranger fans,

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