Thursday, December 1, 2011

Rangers Down Hurricanes For Fourth Straight Win

The New York Rangers continued rolling along, winning their fourth straight, defeating the Carolina Hurricanes 5-3 Thursday night.  With the current four game streak, New York is now 11-2 in their last 13 games to hold an overall record of 14-5-3.  The Rangers are currently three points out of first in the division, conference and league with four games in hand on the Penguins.

Tonight had the makings of a trap game following three big wins over some of the elite teams in the league.  The Rangers looked like they might fall into that trap giving up a goal just 35 seconds into the game, but the resiliency of the team showed right away as Ryan Callahan tied the game 1:07 later with a power play goal.

New York’s resiliency was tested again at the end of the first when Jeff Skinner scored with just 8.7 seconds left in the first, but there was no fold in the Rangers game.  New York fired back in the second period scoring three times in a 4:53 span to take control of the game.  Ryan McDonagh scored the first one on a shot from the left side that deflected off Carolina’s Derek Joslin to tie the game 2-2.  Marian Gaborik gave New York the lead when he took an Artem Anisimov pass for a one-timer from the slot for his 12th goal of the season.  Gaborik reversed roles on the Rangers next goal when he found Sean Avery in the faceoff circle for a beautiful shot that beat Cam Ward upstairs to make it 4-2 New York.

The Rangers did give up another late period goal when Derek Joslin had his shot deflect off Ruslan Fedotenko’s stick and between Martin Biron’s legs with just 2:13 left in the second.  Carolina could not tie the game and Michael Sauer gave the Rangers back the two goal cushion with his first of the season 5:42 into the third.
  • Having 14 different players record a point shows that everyone on this team is doing their part right now
  • Biron was shaky at times, but also made some huge saves to secure the win
  • Hagelin continues to impress with each game showcasing speed, grit along the boards and solid play on both ends
  • Avery played an excellent game tonight and is earning more and more trust from Tortorella.
  • The power play is getting their act together and threatening with regularity even when they don't score.  Don't look now, but tonight marked the fourth straight game with a PPG.
  • Watching Mitchell take a puck to the face and Stepan get hurt diving for a shot shows how everyone is willing to win

Marc Staal Expects To Be Back This Season, Admits Mishandled Situation Last Season

Injured New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal skated again today, but this time he wasn't alone as he skated with Mike Rupp this morning in Carolina.  Following the workout Staal met with reporters for the first time since September 30.  Here are the highlights via Andrew Gross at Ranger Rants:
On how long has he been symptom-free: “It’s been a couple of weeks. I’ve had a lot of good days, I’ll still have a bad day mixed in there once in a while. You just adapt and adjust. I feel when I’ve had a not-so-good day, the improvement the next day has been basically back to normal again and then we just kind of monitor it and go from there.”
This is both a very positive not, but also one of caution for those looking to rush Staal back into the lineup.  The fact that while symptom free he is having bad days means there is still some time before he will be close to ready.
On whether he should have handled it differently last season after the hit by Eric Staal and not played the rest of the season: “Obviously I think, looking back, personally I would have taken more time. I sugarcoated a lot of things and told myself I was fine and I did feel good. I wasn’t feeling 100 percent. But at that point it was my decision to get going. I don’t know if I’d be in the same situation now if I was, it’s hard to tell, it’s all looking back. It’s been a long journey since.”
Staal's understanding that he mishandled the situation last season is critical to his recovery now as he is unlikely to rush again.  This also explains, to some extent, how he was back in the lineup after the initial concussion, but the reporting was that he did not have serious lingering issues until the summer. 

On whether there’s resentment toward Eric Staal because of the hit: “No, not at all. I put that behind me, maybe the day after it happened, not right away, I was pretty upset. It was tough because it was my brother and it’s a whole different situation when that happens and you get hit hard like that and get injured. We play hard against each other, that’s just the way we play. I play the same against Jordan. I caught Jordan in a hit and it could have gone a different way than it did and that’s just the way it is. We understand that’s the game and we’re not going to take it easy on ourselves just because we are brothers and if we did it would be noticeable and people wouldn’t be very happy about that. We understand it’s a game. It’s been tough but we’ve been fine.”
This is a lesson that Rangers fans can learn from to stop the undeserved booing of Eric Staal that went on in New York last month.

For the rest of Staal's comments be sure to check out Ranger Rants.

Anaheim Fires Randy Carlyle, Hires Bruce Boudreau

The Anaheim Ducks have underachieved mightily this season, and a change was bound to come in short order.  Leading into Wednesday night's game the reporting had been that the coaching staff was safe while rumors were running throughout the league of Bobby Ryan potentially being traded.  All of that is up in the air now as the club decided to fire head coach Randy Carlyle following the team’s 4-1 win over Montreal and replace him with Bruce Boudreau.  Boudreau continues his roller-coaster week as he was fire by the Washington Captials on Monday.

The coaching change likely puts any potential deal involving Bobby Ryan on hold as Boudreau will get his own chance to assess the team before personnel moves are made.