Friday, November 19, 2010

Rangers Collapse Under Weight of Avalanche

The Rangers took the ice tonight looking to rebound from falling short on Wednesday against the Bruins and for one period they looked like they wanted to win the game, but once the second period started this game became one of those you file under the “burn the tape” category.  The down-hill slide started right away as Michael Del Zotto got caught on a pinch allowing Chris Stewart, who was excellent all night, to come down the right side and Dan Girardi dove to take away the pass leaving David Jones all alone in front to put home the rebound to make it 1-0 1:04 into the period. 

Things would only get worse from there as four minutes into the period Ruslan Fedotenko who crosscheck Duchene to the neck/jaw area, but get away without a penalty call, though I wouldn’t be surprised to see him suspended for the play.  Duchene would leave the ice momentarily, but he would come back and make the Rangers pay as at 7:21 of the period and then again at 12:27.  The first goal involving Duchene would come on after another play where Del Zotto was caught out of position and his partner, Steve Eminger, dove on a two on one leaving Duchene to shoot and a wide open Kevin Porter in front to deflect the shot by Lundqvist.  The goal at 12:27 also with Del Zotto and Eminger out there saw Duchene come down the right side and use Del Zotto as a screen as he beat Lundqvist far side with a wrister.  This goal would lead to Henrik being pulled and the night being essentially over.

If only the Rangers fans had been so lucky as for the game to have just been called off at that point, but they kept going.  At 15:07 of the second Shattenkirk would beat the newly installed Biron who was screened on the play by Porter.  MDZ had a very bad period, but Eminger also had his worst night in a long time, probably because we had all been praising his play of late.  The period would mercifully end but by the time it was over it was 4-0 Avalanche as everyone was looking to a) see what fight the Rangers had in them in the third; b) looking ahead to tomorrow against the Wild.

Early in the third Girardi would fall down after missing the puck at point and tried to save the play with his stick but Winnik would drive in with Staal chasing and beat Biron to make in 5-0 five minutes into the third.  The lone bright spot for the Rangers was Stepan getting his first goal in 18 games as he beat Anderson, who was excellent tonight, at 6:03 of the third period.  To make matters worse later in the third Brandon Prust would fall awkwardly after being pushed by Matt Duchene, would limp off and not return while being in noticeable pain on the bench and favoring his right leg.

As I said it was one of those you burn the tape and move on as it was an awful performance from just about everyone involved as the Rangers had no fore-check, bad defensive coverage, bad turnovers and for the first time this year very little fight when they got behind.  They played a solid first period but could not solve Craig Anderson and once the first goal went in it was like they were done for the night, which is as disappointing as the individual plays that led to the 5-1 drubbing.  Sometimes there are match-ups that don’t play well for your team and the Avalanche are fast team and their speed hurt the Rangers in transition plays tonight but also didn’t allow the Rangers to really get in and fore-check must tonight.  They will get right back at it tomorrow looking to rebound for this embarrassing outing against a good Minnesota Wild club in Minnesota.
  • Stepan, Gaborik and Frolov had flashes tonight especially in the first period showing they can be good if left together
  • Dubinsky-Anisimov-Callahan had a quiet night
  • Avery seems out of it these days as tonight used to be one of those games where when the team was as flat as they were in the second he would do something to bring energy and he didn’t until it was 5-1 with a minute left and decided he didn’t want to be there for the final whistle
  • MDZ had an awful night and yes they will happen when you are 20 and still learning, but what troubles me is the same mistake was made on two of the goals along with two other plays that they didn’t score on.  Anyone advocating his trade is bonkers, but he does need to be held accountable as he was in the third and when Rozi comes back he should be made a third pair d-man for a little while to get him weaker competition and let him focus on fundamentals defensively.
  • Eminger as I said had his worst night in a while and Girardi had a couple of really bad plays
  • Henrik was not good as he gave up 3 on 14 and it was the 9th time this year he has given up 3 or more in his 15 starts, not good enough from him
  • Stewart and Duchene are special