Monday, October 24, 2011

Oilers Mow Down Blueshirts | EDM 2 NYR 0

Did that blade move?  This guy had more excitement
than anyone willing to waste Saturday night
in front of the t.v. watching the Rangers.
On a night where 14 games were played in the NHL including some dominating performances, goal-scoring explosions and some nasty rivalries being renewed, the last game to be finished was by far the most boring match.

Unfortunately, that contest was the snorefest that the Rangers presented to a sold-out crowd at the Rexall Center in Edmonton. 

Youth and age combined as the Oilers defeated the Rangers 2-0 at the Rexall Center behind a goal and an assist by 18 year-old rookie Ryan Nugent-Hopkins  and 19 saves by oldtimer, 38-year-old Nikolai Khabibulin. Jordan Kaberle also assisted on both goals. The recap is here.

Beginner's Luck. 18 year-old first overall pick, Ryan Nugent
Hopkins continues to impress and make a case to say in the
NHL with 5 goals and 2 assists in his first 7 NHL games .
If the Rangers want to be part of a winter landscape that has been vacated by the NY baseball and basketball teams, they better get into gear because the higher echelon teams in the East (and division) are starting to say good-bye.
All the talk of traveling has its point but the Rangers were a very good road team the past few seasons.  So far, they rarely have had a lead in any game. 

What's worse is that right now they are a boring team that seems to be having an energy hangover from last season.  Perhaps what they need most of all is their initial visit to home ice and familiar surroundings.  That is on the horizon as the home opener is 3 days away.

The missing defensemen (Staal and Sauer) are a problem, but if the lack of an offensive spark is the absence of Wojtek Wolski then the Ranger problems are deeper than we imagined.

There's really not much to say about the game other than noting the continuation of 2 negative trends.

First, terrible penalties taken by the Rangers. The mishap of Rupp getting his stick tangled in an Oiler's player midsection in the 3rd led to the game-clinching goal by Corey Potter and provided a cushion that was obvious the Rangers would not overcome.

Second, an inability of the offense to do anything. The closest thing to a goal the Rangers had was when Ruslan Fedetenko stole an outlet pass by Kabibiluin and tried to shoot back at the vacated net. There was little on the shot as the goalie successfully scrambled back to the right side of the goal to block the shot.  Marian Gabork was once again stopped on a breakaway, this time in the 3rd period.  He also failed to put home a rebound of a Brendan Bell shot in the first.  Continuing how starved for offense the Rangers were during the game, missing opportunites like these were fatal to any chance the Rangers had.

Other than that, the Oilers bottled up the Rangers all night long as the offensive woes continue including being outshot 11-4 in the first period.

Then there was an injury scare when Henrik Lundqvist left the game with a bad foot and was replaced by Marty Biron for the final 9 minutes of the game.  Whenever Henke leaves the game, Ranger fans hold their breath because he is the key to any hopes for a successful season.

Despite the fact that there was no injury, Biron may get hist first start against the Winnipeg Jets on Monday night to give him some work against an offense that averages fewer than 2 goals a game.

The Silent Treatment.  Tort's comment after the game as he
declined to take questions from reporters:  "We (stunk) from

head to toe.  I'm not going to dissect it with you guys."
Former Ranger coach Tom Renney, who was run out of town thanks to the player mutiny started by Ranger disaster Scott Gomez, must have savored this win after the embarrassing asskicking the Rangers inflicted on his squad at the Garden last year. 

The performance so far this season by Khabibulin has been remarkable.  During the summer, he spent time in an Arizona jail for a DUI and joined the Oilers.  
Little was expected of the 38 year-old netminder especially after last season's awful record of 10-32-4 for an equally awful Oiler team.

Potter's Field.  Former Ranger and career minor-leaguer
Corey Potter celebrates the backbreaking goal
at the 4 minute mark of the 3rd period.
Quietly, he now leads the NHL with a goals-against average of 0.72, and second with a .969 save percentage. Unfortunately for him, the Oiler offense has let him down as his record is only 2-0-2.

Fortunately, the Rangers are about to end their opening season 7 game road trip with their first to Winnipeg since the Clinton administration. 

If they can defeat the Jets (2-4-1), who are near the bottom of offense and defense in the NHL, then the Canadian road trip will be a quite respectable 3-1.  

A victory there would be a nice segue to Thrusday night's home opener at the Garden against the very hot Toronto Maple Leafs.  

---The Graying Mantis

No comments:

Post a Comment

This site/blog is not affiliated with the New York Rangers or The National Hockey League in any manner whatsoever. Some photos on this site are used w/out permission but are hosted on the blogger server, therefore not interfering with the profit or bandwidth of the original owner. If you are the owner of a specific image that we have used in our blog , please email me at to have it removed - we will gladly remove it immediately.

If you have a hockey blog/website and would like to place a link on our site, please contact me & we can do a link exchange (the best way to get more traffic to our blogs).

Any offer of 'tickets at cost' is exactly that -- I have season tickets and will sell them for what I paid --- so no mark-ups.

The Dark Ranger is a not-for-profit site, not officially, but we derive no income at all from anything on this site; in fact, DARK at his own expense enjoys the freedom of having no sponsors and speaking his f*cking mind.