Saturday, November 27, 2010

This team's got H-E-A-R-T

Ryan Callahan battles Shane O'Brien. The alternate captain came through again, tying a game up the Rangers rallied to win over Nashville 2-1 in a shootout.

Busiest schedule in the game. Check. Twenty-five games in 47 days. It doesn't matter. No matter how much this league tries to screw us (save me the NY bs-that's why we played tonight and get the Pens Monday while Islanders get five days off), these guys just don't quit. My Dad said it:

'They had no business winning this game.'

True. But you know what. The same could be said for the Devils who thanks to Johan Hedberg's heroics, beat the East's best team. Forget the Caps. They're soft. Sometimes, you don't have it. For our team, it'd have been easy to mail it in after Dan Girardi missed a bouncing puck that led to Colin Wilson's goal in the first. Not this team. They fight. Even when they're running on fumes which ironically enough I am as well, they battle to the end. So, when they still were being shutout late in the second, I figured they wouldn't solve Pekka Rinne. Here's what's great about Twitter. You can vent and sometimes, it works. My actual tweet before Ryan Callahan tied it up:

all game our guys have not gotten inside and even tested Rinne ho hum
To jubilation when Cally scored for a second straight night off a Mike Del Zotto rebound with an assist from a gritty Brandon Dubinsky:

yes! and just as i say that, finally a gritty goal yeah Cally!!!!!!!!!!!
Sometimes, it works. Tonight, they proved me wrong. And you know what? I've never been happier to eat crow. Serve it up charcoal barbecued. No Gaborik. No problem. Another back-to-back. Who cares?!?!?!?!?! As Kevin Laws of NYRangers365 alludes:
are now 6-0 in the 2nd game of back-to-back's... That's solid!!
It's not always about style points. Sometimes, it just comes down to old fashioned grit and determination. Our guys want it. They're not the most talented or prettiest. But that's how they must play to win. A night after blanking the Panthers with 40 saves, Henrik Lundqvist was stellar, shutting down the Preds following Wilson's early goal to give our boys a chance. Even if unlikely shootout hero Erik Christensen drove ya nuts not putting away a sweet Cally dish across, they were only in that position because the goalie remembered who he was. As one-time Ranger Christopher Higgins noted last night in Sunrise, he's one of the top three netminders. So, every stop he made down one was critical. And best of all as we again got abused in the faceoff circle (25-35), he left no rebounds, including all seven of Shea Weber's blasts when Callahan wasn't laying out. The same Henrik who was falling apart with 10 three-or-more games has now turned aside 69 of 70, doing his part to spark the club which must find its second wind before Monday's tilt against the best player in the game, Sid The Kid.

The last time we saw the whiny Pens, they got help from the refs to avoid a shutout, nearly breaking our backs when the evil Matt Cooke of all people put them ahead. But Marc Staal scored shorthanded with Lundqvist pulled and then Callahan buried the winner from Dubinsky calling it the "easiest goal I've scored." It'll take that yeoman effort to make it two-for-two against the league darlings. Also, a healthy Gaborik would help. One that can light the lamp.

There's a lot also to be said for how our team stands up for each other. Another game in which Boogey couldn't go and a rejuvenated Sean Avery took the brunt of it against tough SOB Jordin Tootoo after they came out of the box. Then Brandon Prust stood up to Shane O'Brien getting some revenge. That's the passion this team has exhibited and why they're back to four over (14-10-1) hanging around behind the two Pennsylvania rivals in the Patrick. So, Pitt brings a six-game win streak in along with Crosby fresh off his sixth career hat trick, having a 12-game point streak (12-13-25). So what! Staal, Girardi and Eminger will be ready. And Rozy will too after returning (22:22). Mike Sauer continues to grow and DZ is learning. Before I wrap this up, some food for thought:

31 A. Frolov 2 SOG in 15:50 2 PIM

97 M. Gilroy 3 SOG in 5:14

Bench Frolov and play Hobey!

BONY 3 Stars:

3rd Star-Jordin Tootoo, Nsh (decision over Avery, 9 PIM along with lots of energy)
2nd Star-Ryan Callahan, NYR (tying goal w/6:56 left in regulation-2 cons. games with goal along with usual grit)
1st Star-Henrik Lundqvist, NYR (29 saves incl. at least final 25, 69 of 70 stopped last 2 games)

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