Thursday, November 11, 2010

Anisimov Star Outshines Gaborik Return in Rangers 3-2 OT Win

All the talk leading into this game was about how Gaborik was going to come back and save the Rangers from their recent struggles, but in reality he didn’t play a role in the outcome of this game and it was one of the guys who stepped up in his absence who starred in his return.  With all the talk of who would play with Gaborik it was Artem Anisimov the 22 year old center who I still predict before this year is over will be Gaborik's center with Dubinsky on the other wing, that stole the show.  With Gaborik out Anisimov was thrust into being a top line center probably early than the Rangers wanted him to have to be, but tonight he would score two goals including the game winner 1:32 into OT.  I have said it before and will say it again now that all the talk with fans and media in New York about number 1 centers and going after this guy or that guy is pointless as the Rangers already have the guy in Anisimov.  Artem now has 5 goals and 8 assists in 16 games so far in his sophomore campaign which puts him on a pace for 25 goals, 42 assists 67 points.

Full details of gameplay inside.

The Rangers coming into the game with a two game losing streak took the return of Marian Gaborik to the lineup as a shot in the arm playing an excellent and energized first period.  The Rangers played their game for the most part and didn’t defer to Gaborik being back on the ice.  Only clear case I noticed was one time on the power play were last game Dubinsky would have taken the one timer tonight he stick handled and nothing came of the chance.  The best line in the period was the Fedotenko-Boyle-Prust line as did tremendous work on the fore-check and cycle with each shift.  Eventually 14:04 into the period after a great shift by that line the Rangers would score as Prust passed to Sauer who had pinched in and he threw a backhand pass into the crease where Fedotenko jammed it home.  The Rangers dominated play especially in the second half of the period and managed to go a whole period without being in the box.

In an ode to the rollercoaster that is their season following a very good first period the Rangers put together a clunker in the second playing with no energy and doing none of the things they must to be successful.  Biron kept the Rangers in the lead early in the period as he robbed Rob Niedermayer 3 minutes into the period.  A few moments later Sauer shoved Kaleta into the boards leading to a power play for Buffalo and Kaleta crying on the bench.  The Rangers managed to get a 5 on 3 for 39 seconds and as usual did nothing with it as they played patty-cake and MDZ refused to fire at the net.  They would also fail to score on the remaining 5 on 4 and the momentum after that was all Buffalo at least until Dubinsky got the buck behind the Sabre net in the last minute and fed it to Artem Anisimov who would put it home for a 2-1 lead.  The entire Garden and every Ranger fan watching thought, oh great the lead heading into the third period and then the Rangers in their rollercoaster tradition handed it right back giving up a goal with 2.9 seconds left as Staal, Girardi, Anisimov and Callahan all stood and watched at different points of the play that ultimately ended with Mike Grier scoring.  2-2 end of 2.

Heading into the third period it was anyone's guess as to which version of the Rangers would come out. As is the norm it was an up and down period, but for the most part they played well and created chanced.  Fedotenko as is the norm these days had a goal disallowed at 4:15 of the period as the ref claimed the whistle had blown when it was clearly 3 seconds after the puck was in the net which lead to more of the “intent to blow” nonsense.  Enroth denied some great chances for the Rangers in the 3rd particularly on Dubinsky in the slot off a great pass from Callahan and then on Alex “Friggins” Folov who had the entire net to shoot at but shot it right to Enroth half way through the period.  The Rangers would get a powerplay but do nothing with it and then they would take a penalty and like most Ranger followers you just felt they were going to blow the game right there but a great save by Biron on Pominville saved the tie at that point.  The only other scoring chance the rest of the game would be when Marc Staal denied Derek Roy an empty net rebound and regulation would end 2-2.

In overtime the Rangers would find a way as their number one center of now and the future came through as 1:32 in after a rush up the ice that had one stop by Enroth, Anisimov would find the puck in the slot, turn and fire it high glove for the winner giving the Rangers a much needed two points and even more necessary home win.
  • Gaborik skated well but his timing was off as was to be expected
  • Fedotenko-Boyle-Prust was the best line
  • Christensen and Frolov were not good
  • Other than two bad plays Staal played his best defensive game of the year, especially on Derek Roy
  • All the D played solidly
  • Biron was very good in net other than some rebound control issues early and deserved this W.