Exploding out of the gate and owning the first period still wasn't enough to earn us a win. In fact while most of the commentators seemed to be impressed with how less sucky Jimmy Howard was in net for Detroit, I was unimpressed. Overall, it was great Original 6 game with lots of energy and battles all over the ice, but for all the rushes, scoring chances, and back and forth play... the score hardly tells the tale.
Read the official recap here.
With no disrespect to the Howard, it seemed many of our shots where channeled straight up the middle, exactly where the defense wanted them. As with many of our past games, we seemed to out shoot our opponents and still wind up on the short end of the sticks. This could only point to our quality of shots. The bottom lines echoed by commentators across different networks and analysts throughout the league are always commending our high energy game and tenacity, but whats missing is that our game is also very easy to read. The other teams defense is slowly migrating toward the board where they they can apply pressure and take away our puck movement and what few goal that we've scored in the past 5 games, have come from a higher percentage of bad angle shots.
The wings came out flat last night and our energy and defense too over causing turnovers and quick rushes toward the Detroit net. After the first period, the tides began to reverse as Detroit up its game and started to play a smarter game. Going to the boards and digging the puck off to where they're fowards could play us in open ice and then crash the net for rebounds. It was telling that Datsyuk could outplay two skaters and our backup with only inches of space. Energy alone doesn't win a game and it has to be directed with consistent lines and fundamental basics like crisp passes without cycling the puck around the endboards hoping to confuse the defense. While it creates space for players like Prospal who seems like hes on his own mission these days; going rogue and crashing the net every opportunity he gets, the itch to play certain shows but it heard seems like the rest of the team is aware of his objectives and his of theirs or theirs of each others. As a team, the only way to roll forward is communication and repetitive practice in open ice with room to work around defensive pressure.
Till Next Time Ranger Fans,