The Rangers play tonight was very similar to the opening ceremonies where they built momentum early and then had it all crash in a very ugly fashion. The first eight to ten minutes of the game the Rangers were excellent specifically the second line of Dubinsky-Anisimov-Callahan as the Leafs could seem to get the puck off of them, but that line could not get a goal for all the possession that they were able to maintain. The Rangers would get a goal from Michal Rozsival at 7:58 of the 1st period on a point shot and the good play continued for a few more minutes before the wheels came off defensively. They gave up odd man rushes, wide open guys in front of the net and Henrik bailed them out making 16 saves in the 1st and letting them end the period 1-0.
The second period was even worse than how the first ended. Toronto started the period on a PP because Drury took a needless penalty to end the first. The Rangers managed to kill the penalty, but four seconds after it ended they gave up the tying goal to Clarke MacArthur untouched on the post. Thirty seconds after that goal was a play whose significance we wont know the significance of until later when Colby Armstrong checked Marian Gaborik into the boards and injured his shoulder. Gaborik stayed on the ice for the ensuing power play, but once he went to the bench for the end of his shift, he proceeded to the locker room and would not return.
The Leafs killed off the Armstrong Penalty and shortly after it ended Mike Komisarek scored to make it 2-1 on a point shot not dissimilar to Rozsival’s goal. For the rest of the period it was odd man chance and wide open man one after another and I would swear that no Ranger ever touched Phil Kessel in the period. Kessel after being stoned multiple times by Henrik Lundqvist finally scored one at 7:50 of the 2nd to put the Leafs up 3-1. The fact that the period ended with it still 3-1 was about Henrik Lundqvist and no one else as shots at the end of 2 were 30-12 and Ranger fans spent the 2nd intermission contemplating the end of the season between the performance on the ice and injuries to Marian Gaborik and Chris Drury.
Join me after the jump to see how it would end.
The Rangers would come out early in the 3rd and get a goal from Brian Boyle to make it 3-2 and it seemed like some momentum might happen. The Rangers would get a powerplay and during that powerplay Ruslan Fedetenko took a dumb penalty and Sean Avery had an even dumb play taking multiple whacks at Mike Komisarek behind the play thinking he could get away with it. More on this later. The Rangers would go from a 5 on 4 PP to killing a 4 on 3 and 5 on 3 situation. Having successfully killed it the Rangers had the momentum and Avery sought to atone when he set up the goal scorer, Brian Boyle for his 2nd of the night. I have no clue what Giguere was doing cause he had no earthly idea where the puck was and never even looked forward until it was already in the net.
With that kind of momentum you would think, well the Rangers have to win this game now, and maybe they should have in the 3rd as Toronto lost it’s composure, but once again if it wasn’t for Henrik not only would they not have won it, they would have lost in regulation. His save on Grabovski’s wrap around try was a thing of beauty that was a sure goal as his defense were just standing watching. It was just as I said one of those nights like the opening ceremonies where when they built the momentum and got you into it they would shoot themselves in the foot and kill it. The final nail was the Marc Staal interference call with 2:12 left in OT that eventually lead to a wide open Phil Kessel snapper for the winner. Rangers really had no business being in this games, so they should count their blessings and kiss the King's throne to get even 1 point.
1st Star- Phil Kessel
2nd Star- Henrik Lundqvist
3rd Star- Brian Boyle
- The Sean Avery move will undoubtedly get him suspended, the question now being how long and seeing how it is Avery and he is a repeat offender I would bet on longer, probably 5 games. I know the antics are popular with many Ranger fans but that was a selfish, childish move that has no place in the sport. His play picked up after the whole incident, helping get that point, but that still can’t be used to excuse the behavior.
- Brian Boyle was a man possessed in the 3rd period and if he keeps playing like that things will get better as with injuries to Dru (6 weeks), Gabby (2-3 weeks), EC his role is going to have to increase.
- Dubi-AA-Cally was the best line again playing very well in the 1st and 3rd, but as a line they were invisible in the 2nd, while Callahan did his best to will the team out of their awful play.
- Didn’t see a whole lot to like from Gilroy tonight if I am going to compare his play to Sauer.
- Eminger had some really good hits, but also some awful positioning as well, so ugh is the general sense.
- MDZ made some excellent defensive plays and his positioning was much better. Keep it up.