Saturday, November 17, 2007

Rangers win with defense, who provide offense

Confused? Let me clear it up. Michael Roszival, Dan Girardi and Jason Strudwick (!) scored for the Rangers tonight to give them a 4-3 win in overtime against the Penguins. Roszival had a pair, including a short handed goal, and Strudwick's was the game winner in overtime (!!) off of a rush with Paul Mara. Pretty unbelievable right? Well, Ryan Hollweg also cracked the scoresheet with an assist on Roszival's first goal. Marc Staal, Sean Avery, Petr Prucha, Brandon Dubinsky, Fedor Tyutin and Scott Gomez also picked up assists on the night. Every Ranger defenseman made the scoresheet tonight, which is quite the feat.

For the Penguins, Sidney Crosby was most of the offense, and he single handedly controlled the first period. He had a goal and an assist on the night. Petr Sykora and Maxime Talbot scored the other goals for Pittsburgh.

After the first period, when the Rangers were down 2-0, is when the Blueshirts remembered that they should be playing hockey. After a slow start in the first, they answered with three goals in the second. The rest of the game was fairly even with a weird bounce off of Colton Orr's skate to main reason for Sykora's third period goal to tie it up at 3-3. Overtime was only 1:40 old when Mara slid the puck over to Strudwick, who deposited it into the open cage.

Not much to really dissect tonight. Other than the first period, the Rangers played good hockey. I said in the beginning of the season that playing all 60 minutes was crucial to a successful season, and up until tonight they had been doing that. They were bailed out tonight, and that just goes to show how well this team is going right now.

A couple of other quick hits:

Martin Straka and Ryan Callahan were said to be a week or so away for the Rangers. No timetable on Marek Malik.

The players need to start policing the checking from behind, in my opinion. There have been way too many instances this year with players being boarded and injured. Over the last several games, Chris Drury and Dubinsky have been hit hard from behind, but both escaped unscathed. Dubinsky even got up and fought Tuumo Ruutu tonight, which takes guts. It's sad what happened to Patrice Bergeron, who may not play hockey again this year, or ever. Erik Cole is also seriously injured. The league needs to increase the penalties for boarding, maybe to an automatic five minutes. I realize sometimes it is accidental, but too many times it looks like the player has plenty of time to pull back, and doesn't. Until the league does something, enforcers like Orr need to step up and challenge anyone who boards a teammate. Just my opinion.

Also, while as a Ranger fan I am forced to despise Martin Brodeur, congratulations to him for winning his 500th game. Patrick Roy is now the only goaltender with more wins, with 551.

The Rangers are off tomorrow before Monday's tilt against the Islanders. If anything breaks before then, I'll let you know. If not, talk to you all on Monday.

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