Scott Gomez scored the lone Rangers goal on his 28th birthday last night, but it wasn't enough as the Rangers dropped a 3-1 game to the Ottawa Senators.
Great recap below from Derek, but here are some of my observations from last night's game:
- As much as I hated the Jason Strudwick - Marek Malik pairing before the game, it actually turned out to be not so bad. It was only one game, however, and long term it makes me a little nervous. Paul Mara is no defensive guru, but he at least provides some offense, while Malik and Strudwick will chip in as many goals on the NHL level as Cammi Granato would. Then again, on a Rangers team that lacks scoring in a big way, even the slightest chipping in of goals would help.
- Sean Avery looked good in his return, but not great. He has great chemistry with Brendon Shanahan, which was evident. When Avery gets his conditioning back up to par, he has got to be on a power play unit with Shanny. More of the Ranger players should do what Avery does offensively as well. He is always skating, goes hard to the net, and loves to camp out in front of the crease. He never passes up an opportunity to shoot either, it was just a matter of getting it on goal that was the problem last night.
- Someone please help the fourth line get a goal. When Ryan Hollweg hit that post last night, I jumped up in the air because I thought it went in. When Colton Orr redirected a shot just wide, I groaned and grumbled. Blair Betts going in on a two on one had me hoping it squeezed through a pad or something. The line works so hard. The energy is always there, they rarely make any glaring mistakes and they empty their tanks for 45 seconds at a time.
- Wednesday night's scratch should be Chris Drury. Man, I like the guy, he has a ton of talent but someone besides Petr Prucha needs to be benched to send a message. At least during Jaromir Jagr's scoring slump he is still picking up assists. He's even meshing well with Gomez and Marty Straka on that line. It's a great top line, but Drury needs to pick up his game. Get some good shots, chip in some assists, play some good hard hockey. Same can be said for Ryan Callahan. Sit him down for a game. Let him know that he is here to score goals. And for the love of Ranger's blue, play Nigel Dawes more than five minutes a game!!
In all seriousness though, Happy and healthy holidays to everyone at BoNY. Writers, readers and members of everyone's families. Thanks for reading, thanks for writing and thanks for the support. I'm taking the next couple of days off to wrap, unwrap and give and receive presents, do a little traveling and eat a whole lot of food. I wish everyone an enjoyable holiday season.