Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Fourteen goals in two games

Say it with me slow-----lll-------yyy. The Rangers scored:


over two games!!!!!

Please keep repeating until it sinks in. In two consecutive games, our gang that couldn't shoot straight has finished, finished and finished. Granted. It came at the expense of a pair of suspect defensive clubs in this topsy turvy conference that changes daily. First, they lit the lamp for six unanswered in a 6-2 victory over Les Canadiens. Another game we sold. Given our luck evidenced by the fact that nobody could recall the last time we saw a Ranger win, what transpired tonight was miraculous. They scored 88888888!!!!!!!!

Okay. So the Bolts were running on fumes, still hungover from their win over the Candy Canes the night before. But c'mon! C'mpuckin on! This was bananas. The eight goals were the highest they'd scored since January 2001 during the Dark Ages. That Justin even knew Jeff Toms recorded a hat trick playing with Lindros and Fleury speaks to his insanity. The most I could remember were seven in a St. Patty's Day Massacre of the Bruins during Cally's rookie year. A great memory as our team swept the Kovalchuk/Hossa Thrashers with Marcel outperforming big bro. Hey. We had Buffalo on the ropes before Renney erred. Ah. Didn't they also roast Hotlanta for 7 in Game Three? Good times.

Getting back to this eight goal eruption, meaning the Rangers have scored a month's worth in two consecutive wins, this was about as perfect a dismantling as humanly possible. It was Devil-esque. Hell. Hasan is probably a little envious considering how tough Tampa played them. That's about the only edge we have along with team doctors. Sorry. Couldn't resist. :-P In all seriousness, it's nice to see Tort Reform pay off. Even if it was far from a sellout. Are you listening Jazzy Jim? It was just great to get back on the winning track. Honestly had doubts that we'd ever witness another home win. Haha. Here were the highlights:

-Aaron Voros (yes) stood in there against PIM leader Zenon Konopka and did well 10 seconds in really setting the tone. He had a memorable night later drawing an instigator on Konopka and then scoring on it. A just reward for a great team guy who's not played a whole lot. When he has, he's contributed much more than Huggy Bear. Voros also battled Ryan Malone even having his name chanted. Seri---ous---ly! You deserved it. If anyone wants to follow him, please do so on Twitter. He got plenty of love including from us.

-Sixteen different Rangers recorded a point. Even the rejuvenated Tinman, who notched a helper two days removed from his second fight in Ranger Blue.

-For a second straight game since being reunited, Dubi, Prosp and Great Gabby dominated combining for eight points (2-6-8), plus-nine along with Dubi hammering Jeff Halpern. Gaborik matched a career high with four assists, eclipsing 60 points. He's now up to 61 (29-32-61) or three better than the leading Ranger scorer(s) [Gomez/Zherdev] all last year. So explosive. Before Sunday, Gaborik had just three points this month but in the last two, he has seven (1-6-7). Hope that trend continues Thursday at Philly. In the duh moment of the night, MSG radio announcer Kenny Albert actually asked Prospal what the reason for their line's success was. Hell-o! They played together with similar results earlier this season. Holy cow!

-Prospal had a sweet finish versus his ex-team off a nifty Gabby set up, going backhand deke. He nearly pulled it off again later when he had Antero Niittymaki dead to rights but hit the right post. Just how lethal was our transition? Had they not hit posts and Niitty not prevented a couple of others before getting the hook, they easily could've reached a cool dozen. Also speaking to how inept the Lightning were.

-After an otherwise invisible Vinny Lecavalier banked one in off Henrik to cut it to 2-1, a quick response by the captain Dru, who rebounded home a Cally shot to score for a second straight game only 73 seconds later. Sticking the Team USA PK tandem together with Christy was smart. So was shifting Avery to the fourth line turning it into a crash line with Boyle and Voros, who both were strong. Seems Tort has finally come to his senses, balancing out things with Artie working with a revitalized Enver Lisin and Higgs. Since being reinserted, all Lisin's done is work, work and work, finally getting rewarded with his sixth from Higgins and Matt Gilroy, who jumped up contributing two helpers. Even Higgins finished for just the second time at MSG, putting the cherry on top late.

-Marc Staal had another stellar performance, contributing defensively and offensively, finishing his career best fifth while adding his career best 13th assist for you guessed it. Eighteen points. Also a career high in Year Three with still 32 games left. We'd be remiss if we didn't mention how well he works with Rozy, who looks much more comfortable. He's played better for a while, blocking shots while moving the puck effectively and getting involved offensively. All cause there's less pressure on him.

-Up two in the second, Dan Girardi's right point shot eluded Niitty to match his jersey No.5, ending a long 31-game drought. That it came unscreened from way out should tell you how under siege the poor Tampa netminder was, permitting five on 20 shots before 2008 fifth rounder Dustin Tokarski replaced him faring no better (3 GA on 11 shots). It's awfully hard to win when you don't compete.

-Our club's not known to be tough but the past two games (both convincing wins), they've fought five times. Even when the gloves haven't been dropped, our guys are finally standing up for each other as evidenced by Lisin getting in Maxim Lapierre's face Sunday. A refreshing change for the better!

-Not to sound like a broken record but between all this good stuff, Henrik again was solid, needing just 21 saves after coming off light work (19) the other day. He still made some timely stops before we put it out of reach. That's now nine in a row of two goals-or-less dating back to a New Year's Eve 2-1 triumph at Raleigh. In eight starts this month, The King's 5-1-2 with a miniscule 1.48 GAA, 947 save percentage plus the memorable 0-0 shutout duel with MB30 in a shootout defeat. Not too shabby. How dominant has he been? Lundqvist's now up to 22 wins with a 2.26 GAA and on pace for a career best save percentage (.925). If he continues this upswing, it's going to be hard not to include him in the Vezina talk. Once impossible. Still, with Miller Time, Bryzgalov, Marty, Kipper and fantastic frosh Jimmy Howard, it's going to be awfully tough.

-He had only one assist following a career high four points (2-2-4) but Cally was everywhere. He and Dubi couldn't be stopped, generating shorthanded chance after shorthanded chance. This American duo is quickly becoming one to watch.

-Hey Ally. Keep trying to figure out why you're out of the lineup. Stay in the press box!

BONY 3 Stars:

3rd Star-Brandon Dubinsky, NYR (G, A, fight = Gordie Howe Hat Trick, +3 in 25 shifts-18:36)
2nd Star-Enver Lisin, NYR (6th goal of season, 3 hits, 2 takeaways, +1 in 18 shifts-12:58)
1st Star-Aaron Voros, NYR (1st goal of season, 2 fights, major penalty drawn in 13 shifts-8:08)

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