I bet you didn't see that one coming now, huh? The Rangers played one of their most complete games last night in Philly shutting them out 4-0 to exact a little revenge for that dreadful 6-2 beating at MSG a couple of weeks prior.
Rather than go crazy recapping it, I actually did that already over at my official HB site. So I'm going to link it up and then give some input instead:
1.Nigel Dawes scored and looked pretty good playing with Chris Drury and Petr Prucha. The trio formed the club's best line combining for three goals and an assist in the win. I got to say Dawes is just getting more and more comfortable all the time. Looks like the kid from Manitoba is going to stick.
2.Marek Malik replaced Paul Mara on the blueline and looked okay but he injured himself when Mike Richards collided with him. That was such a bs call on the Flyer two-way pivot. It was a make up call for the mugging Brendan Shanahan and Sean Avery received from a cheap Scott Hartnell who elbowed Shanny and put his stick in Avery's face. Big Bird didn't return logging just over 11 minutes. Figure Mara to be back in tonight in Newark along with the serviceable Jason Strudwick.
3.Brandon Dubinsky continues to improve all the time. The 21 year-old rookie Alaskan who garnered MVP honors at the Young Stars Game notched a helper for his seventh point in the last nine contests. He really is coming on and gaining Tom Renney's trust. Last night, he played between Sean Avery and Brendan Shanahan logging nearly 17 minutes while helping setup Shanny's goal which dashed any Flyer hopes of a comeback. This kid is a smart two-way player who takes the body and seems to have some decent skill. We could have ourselves a home grown player or two to talk about a year from now.
4.Backup Stephen Valiquette made 20 saves to notch his first career NHL shutout. He really wasn't tested much but came through when his team needed him early on when the Flyers held a 5-1 SOG edge. Nice to see him get the shutout. I'm sure it was very sentimental for him because his uncle passed away. You know that puck meant a lot. God bless.
5.The Rangers won despite no points from Jaromir Jagr or sidekick Martin Straka. However, that doesn't necessarily mean they were ineffective. Conversely, they teamed up well with No.1 center Scott Gomez cycling the puck down low and creating chances. Straka in fact had the best ones. He was setup by Gomer for essentially an open net which would've been 5-0 but fanned on it. He also had bad luck when a shot rang off the bar and fell on the goalline.
6.The D was much better than in recent games giving a solid attacking Flyer team zilch. Even when they worked hard, it was tough to get shots through drawing mock cheers from a protypical Philly crowd. Gotta love it.
7.Most important question now is can they repat this strong performance against two more quality clubs in the Devils and Canadiens on the road this weekend? That answer will be provided by kickoff Sunday night.
8.Combined with the Islanders' 3-1 home defeat at the hands of the Kings, the Rangers moved back into eighth in the conference with 56 points.