Monday, November 21, 2011

House Of Horrors kills streak

Alright. By show of hands, who's surprised our seven-game run came to an abrupt halt at the hands of the Canadiens? They don't call it the House Of Horrors for nothing. Let's face it. The Rangers rarely have success when they visit Montreal. If they burned the place down (no offense Habitants), I wouldn't shed a tear the same way I didn't when the Devils moved out of the old Meadowlands for their fancy home in Newark. Another arena that owned us.

Entering Saturday's humiliation, the Blueshirts had run off seven straight and figured to be well rested for what was the Canadiens' third game over four days. Instead, an angry Habs' squad still steaming from a 4-3 loss to the Islanders Thursday handed our team its lunch in a very uncompetitive 4-0 loss. It was over quickly. Oh. Sure. They methodically took the Rangers apart, getting one in the first, one in the second before doubling up in the third for the final margin.

John Tortorella's lackluster club never established a forecheck and allowed the Canadiens to control from start to finish in what amounted to an exhibition. There was no hitting. No checking. No shots even though the scoreboard said that Carey Price stopped 17 for his second consecutive shutout, which was good for my fantasy team. This truly was unwatchable unless you're as diehard as my favorite Habs tweep @vivianmtl, who enjoyed what she saw. And why not? Considering how it was reversed when we beat them at the renovated MSG, it was payback. I honestly thought the rest would be an advantage instead of a hindrance. For whatever reason, our team was flat and paid dearly.

Erik Cole abused Michael Del Zotto by blowing past him and going top shelf on Martin Biron for a power play goal, which took advantage of an atrocious call on Ryan McDonagh. There were at least three others that mystified throughout. Not that the Rangers deserved better. They were listless. Biron allowed a bad second goal to Mr. Hacks, Brian Gionta right through the wickets with no other Hab in sight. The puck seemed to break part of his equipment which was taped. Let's just say it was one of those nights. It was the first of two for the Habs' captain, who later was set up by Scott Gomez for the exclamation point. I wish I was kidding but a scene from Back To The Future actually took place. Yes, even Gomez (2 assists), who was part of a lopsided deal for McDonagh and ex-Blueshirt Chris Higgins, showed up. He still hasn't scored a goal in his last 60 games.

The ice was so tilted that you half wondered if the guys wearing the red, white and blue had switched jerseys with the Blue Jackets. I kid. Hey. They won the other night! Or perhaps it rubbed off on the New York Giants yesterday. :P Biron certainly was forced to make a number of quality stops just to give the Rangers a chance before the roof caved in. Another phantom call on Ryan Callahan that still hasn't been discovered led to the Habs' best forward Tomas Plekanec blasting one thru traffic for 3-zip. Cole and local product Max Pacioretty drew assists.

I don't know why I watched the third, still tired from my shift. I even shaved hoping it would bring luck. Instead, I took the pain as Gomez turned back the clock, hooking up with Gionta for a goal that may as well have been in 2003. It was fitting. Two ex-Devils who gave us nightmares with one bowing out of Manhattan with a forgettable second year. Though some fans would have you believe those teams could score.

And so, ended another trip to Hell. House Of Horrors be damned. No eight-game win streak, which would've been nice. Like Al Pacino's character John Milton character in Devil's Advocate near the end says to Keanu Reeves' Kevin Lomax about his run of trial victories:

"Maybe it was your time to lose."
It was nice while it lasted. Now, the Blueshirts can get back to work at practice for a traditional game Turkey Eve at Florida before a visit to D.C. on Black Friday against struggling Alex Ovechkin and the Caps. Two good tests. The Panthers can skate and score with anyone. Or as I refer to them, Hawks South is getting it done led by Brian Campbell and Kris Versteeg, who have combined with Stephen Weiss to form a dangerous offense. The always overlooked Tomas Fleischmann is also producing. If our team skates in quicksand two days from now, they're screwed. Henrik Lundqvist will be back in. We'll see how they close out a good month.

BONY 3 Stars:

3rd Star-Yanick Weber, Mtl (assist in 21:14- made great pass that led to Cole PPG, solid overall)
2nd Star-Brian Gionta, Mtl (2 goals, 5 SOG, +2 in 19:15, Mr. Hacks tormented us)
1st Star-Erik Cole, Mtl (PPG-sixth for game winner, assist in 17:56, dominant)

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