Saturday, January 8, 2011

Behind Biron Rangers Leave St. Louis Feeling The Blues

AP Photo/Tom Gannam

If the goal of this two game trip was to prove the one last weekend was just a blip on the screen the Rangers certainly did that with their effort the last two nights against two very good Western Conference foes.  Another game, another comeback, another second game of a back-to-back win, and another road win to bring their league leading total to 15 wins road victories.  With the victory the Rangers have now won three straight Tonight the story was Martin Biron who got the start in place of Henrik Lundqvist and he was brilliant with 24 stops, especially in the second period where he stopped 14 of 15 shots, including multiple point blank chances.
On the offensive side the Rangers would get the game winner from Sean Avery at 15:26 of the second period, but the story was not the goal itself but the battle along the wall in which Avery and Dubinsky combined to win the puck which allowed Dubinsky to come off the wall like a man possessed drive the net and make a beautiful pass to Marian Gaborik who was all alone.  Unfortunately Gaborik would flub it and hit the post, but luckily Avery stayed with the play and was there to clean up the scraps.  The play by Dubinsky on this goal was special and likely the result of not wanting to go back to the bench and face Tortorella empty-handed after taking a bad penalty.
The Rangers other goal came at 9:12 of the period on a tremendous passing play, but before that the play of rookie Ryan McDonagh must be talked about.  McDonagh blocks a shot early in the play and appears to be hurt but cannot get off the ice and eventually is the one who makes the clearing play to get out of the zone where it ends up with Dubinsky feeding Zuccarello and Zuccarello making an absolutely gorgeous no look pass to Stepan who was wide open and he snuck it by Jaroslav Halak to get the Rangers on the board and tie the game at 1-1.
The Blues goal came early in the second when a point shot from Eric Brewer where Marc Staal made a rare mistake in not taking the stick away from Brad Winchester who makes an excellent deflection that gets through Biron at 2:13 of the second.
In terms of period play the first was boring, the second was action packed and the third was more like the first until towards the end.  The Rangers got lucky in some respects tonight to get away with numerous bad penalties including two from Brandon Dubinsky and a huge double minor from Sean Avery for a high stick in the middle of the third period.  The penalty kill was phenomenal when it had to be and Biron was the best penalty killer on the night.
  • Dubinsky other than his two bad penalties played an excellent game again beyond just another two assists with his toughness on the puck, penalty killing were outstanding.
  • Derek Stepan played a phenomenal game on both sides of the puck with the goal and multiple excellent defensive plays
  •  Mats Zuccarello’s pass on the Stepan was exactly the kind of thing I was talking about this morning when I wrote about Zuccarello bringing his magic touch to the Rangers.
  • Artem Anisimov played with an aggression that makes him so dangerous in this game.
  • Gaborik had some chances tonight and he was robbed a couple times by Halak but also failed to convert some he really has to with his skill level.  He has absolutely no confidence at the moment.
  • Prust and Boyle were tremendous as usual on the PK
  •  Michael Sauer played his ever steady game and is developing into a shutdown defender of his own
  • Ryan McDonagh for me proved that he can play at the NHL as he played his normal poised game with great positioning and physicality.
  • Crazy Stats: Rangers 15-7-1 on road; Rangers 10-1 in second of back-to-backs; 16 different Rangers have scored GWG's