Sunday, December 12, 2010

Rangers Paste Frustrated Capitals In Total Team Effort

 What a difference a night makes.  After failing to convert on just about anything last night the New York Rangers looked like they could do no wrong tonight whether it be the goal onslaught or the posts that the Capitals hit four different times in the game.  This is the kind of game the Rangers needed with this stretch of games and there is nothing negative to say about the way the team performed.  Over the past few weeks even when the Rangers have won their games it has left a lot to be desired in terms of the way they have played and then there have been the efforts in the losses but tonight was like a different team and a tremendous result came out of it.  We will see if the Rangers who have not been good at it can build on a performance like this and take it from game to game because these are the kinds of efforts that if done consistently can let them not only play with and beat any team in the league but be considered a contender.  The question as usual with this team though is if they can bring that consistency.

That said before I get to all the good stuff I sadly have to scold the classlessness of some and far too many Rangers fans that were in the building tonight who cheered when Alex Ovechkin was hit in the third period by Alex Semin’s shot on his knee.  It is one thing to boo him when he touches the puck and cheer when our guys shut him down, but you never boo an injury to ANYONE.  What makes it worse for me is that those same fans who were cheering Ovechkin being hurt would be setting this city ablaze if in another building an injury to Gaborik, Lundqvist, Staal, Callahan or any Rangers player had been hurt and the other fans cheered.  We are better than that kind of behavior and I expect not just next time but every time for our fan base to show that.  Now onto the game.

The first period in all honesty was not that great of a period for either side as each team would have chances but neither really put an imprint on the game, but the Rangers would get the only marker of the period late when a great shift by Frolov, Boyle and Prust would get cashed in.  Brandon Prust kept the puck alive and finally threw the puck at the net and it would deflect off Tom Poti’s skate at 17:57 of the period.

The second period was the best period of the season for the Rangers, though some of that luck I spoke of came into play as well as the Rangers would score four times and be saved by three posts that could have made it a different game.  Right off the start in the second Michael Del Zotto would make a very good play in center disrupting the Caps rush up the ice, eventually the puck would end up with Artem Anisimov in the neutral zone.  Anisimov would take the puck from there skating over the offensive blue line and ripping a wrister through Hannan’s legs and over the glove of Varlamov to make it 2-0 59 seconds into the frame.  The goal was Anisimov’s first in his last 11 games.

On the next shift more hard from Artem would draw a penalty to Scott Hannan and the Rangers would cash this opportunity in.  After a good shift Staal would work the puck to Rozsvial who gave it back to Staal who took the shot and Marian Gaborik would make a beautiful deflection through the five hole making it 3-0 3:07 into the period.  This would lead to Bruce Boudreau calling a time out and giving his team the business.
Unfortunately for the Capitals the response to their coach would be on delay as Alex Ovechkin would fail to dump the puck in deep and on a bad line change Brandon Dubinsky was left alone with the puck and he would score again through the five hole to make it 4-0 at 4:30 mark.

The Caps would start to get emotionally involved in the game when at 5:16 of the period Hendricks would challenge Michael Sauer to a fight and Sauer would oblige.  The fight was not much other than a few shots and a takedown though Hendricks would take a few liberties on the ice. 

The fighting side would continue when after a hip check from Alex Ovechkin to Dan Girardi, which was clean, Ovie would skate out to center ice and drop the gloves with Brandon Dubinsky as the frustration for the Caps captain had just boiled over at that point.  Dubinsky would win the fight and the video of the whole thing can be seen here.

Right after the fight Girardi would take a penalty and you felt even up 4-0 this was a crucial moment for the Rangers to kill this off.  Well not only did they kill it off but 35 seconds into the kill Marc Staal after making the defensive play in the corner would feed Brandon Prust who played the puck up to Brian Boyle.  Boyle would carry the puck into the zone and had a streaking Staal with him for the two-on-one and after delaying the pass Boyle would feed Staal for the shorthanded goal at 10:42 that made it 5-0.

The third period the Rangers would not let off the gas at least on the scoreboard as 4:11 into the period after a beautiful fake back to the point that froze the Capitals defense, Dubinsky would spin and play a forehand pass to the slot for Ryan Callahan who would double hit the shot into the net to make it 6-0 and complete Dubinsky’s Gordie Howe hat trick.

Things would get chippy after that as 12:29 into the period there were issues with Avery and Hendricks that we will come back to.  At 13:31 of the game Callahan would end the scoring as on a two on one with Dubinsky Cally kept the puck and ripped a shot high glove to beat Varlamov and make it 7-0.

In getting back to Avery and Hendricks they would battle as soon as they got out of the box much like Avery and Tootoo from the Nashville game.  The fight itself was unspectacular but as I brought up Hendricks taking liberties earlier when on the ice Avery did it too and that cannot be tolerated either.  The rest of the game there were scrums and some bad blood but the Capitals at least showed some fight in the third.  There was also the incident I referenced at the top with Ovechkin so no need to do it again.

What does need to happen again however is the Rangers matching this kind of effort on Wednesday against the Penguins
  • The entire team played an excellent game but the standouts for me were Dubinsky, Anisimov, Callahan, Prust, Staal and Lundqvist.
  • Henrik bounced back in a huge way making excellent glove saves at multiple times in a blowout where it would have been ok to give one up but he wanted the shutout.
  • Huge night for the Rangers homegrown talent.
  • Rangers now 8-0-0 in second game of back-to-back