|Five points, 4 goals and 1 assist.|
NYR 7, Philly 0
So you missed yesterday's game Rangers fans?
The Blueshirts only scored 7 goals against the Eastern Conference leading Philadelphia Flyers, Henrik Lundqvist earned his 9th League-leading shutout in the NHL, soon-to-be-Captain Ryan Callahan scored four goals and one assist - his first hat trick in the NHL, Mats Zuccarella scored his career-leading 2 goals, Marian Gaborik was back in the lineup and looked solid, Sean Avery actually had ice time and Brandon Dubinsky, challenged to throw-em-down by Mike Richards, taught the Flyers Captain a lesson in pain.
So you really didn't miss much. Official recap here.
|Where Have I been all season?|
There is a lot of chatter online about how the Rangers are likely to miss the playoffs this season, given the limited trades at the deadline (acquired McCabe from Florida) and sticking with a team comprised of top-talent 2nd and 3rd liners. This may be the case as we continue to believe in and build a youth movement in the Rangers system and current roster. In future seasons we should see a much improved and more consistent team as they gain valuable ice experience, but they are not 'dead in the water' this season and are still believing in the philosophy that they are a playoff contender. After yesterday's blowout, it is a huge confidence boost and if, God forbid, they do qualify for the 7th or 8th spot in the Eastern Conference, it is likely to be against the Flyers, Penguins, or Lightning. Knowing that the team has it in them to shutout and destroy the Capitals or Flyers at any point in the season gives slight comfort to getting further than the first round. Only the Lightning scares me.
Back to the game yesterday, Callahan got the Rangers going 51 seconds in with a redirection of a pass from Brandon Dubinsky and made it 2-0 with 7:02 left in the first with a power-play goal. Zuccarello pushed the lead to 3-0 at 5:06 of the second, then Callahan chased the shaky Boucher. He struck again 4:20 into the third against Bobrovsky, turning his left skate to steer the puck into the net. Anisimov made it 6-0 with 5:19 left off an assist from Callahan, and Zuccarello scored his second with 1:13 remaining.
|"Oh Danny Boy...the summers' gone and all the Flyers are dying"|
With Jeff Carter out with the flu, our defensive core made Danny Briere, Scott Hartnell, Versteeg, etc. invisible. It was shutdown defense, and although we did our job and played the system -- it actually felt that Philly didn't give a sh#t; they looked uninterested in the game after the 2nd or 3rd goals. And unlike our own team, the Rangers took advantage of that demeanor and continued to play hard, never changing the forward-moving system of scoring goals first. Defensive positioning we were not, and Torts pushed and pushed and the team followed - a good coaching effort.
For Rangers fans, it was New Year's Eve - the 'Goal Song' blared throughout The Garden, high fives aplenty and angry little ugly bitter Orange jerseys silent throughout the game, an occasional "Let's Go Flyers" chant subsequently overshadowed by the "Let's Go Rangers" chant --- even the fans of Flies couldn't overcome this historical bloodbath, now known as "WHEN THE GARDEN BLED ORANGE".
|Deke and Doh! Anisomov scores.|
Even when a second period Sean Avery goal was overturned by the officials (surprised? = Comcast) with Philly down 3-0, a turning point, Flyers Captain Mike Richards called out Dubinsky for a brawl meant to remind his own team that this was the moment we've been given and the game was not over; the young Brandon Dubinsky, our gawkiest fighter, held Richards to a standard unseen - three fists to Richards face later, Dubie took him down and The Garden celebrated one of their own - a young warrior crowned in Blue. The Flyers Captain from that point forward was The Walking Dead.
Henrik Lundqvist was again stunning in goal with his ninth shutout of the season, with a couple of spectacular saves. Flyers' goalies Boucher and Bobrovsky have now given up 18 goals on the last 132 shots they've faced for a ghastly .864 save percentage and 4.52 GAA combined, their greatest vulnerability. The Blueshirts exposed what the Flyers' critics have been saying all season long -- goaltender problems. Hah ahah a ha aha hah ah.
So two road games this week against the Anaheim Ducks, followed by the San Jose Sharks -- two tough contenders will be difficult. But we can all agree on one thing.
They are must-wins.