Monday, November 22, 2010

Recap: Biron Extinguishes Flames in 2-1 Rangers Win

Lou Capozzola/Getty Images
The story of the entire day for the New York Rangers was Martin Biron, whether it be this morning when the fans were surprised he was getting a second straight start or tonight when he was the star in helping the Rangers win their second straight victory.  Biron would make 31 saves in all in the 2-1 win including stoning Jarome Iginla on at least three chances form the doorstep.  Biron improves his record to 5-2 including four straight victories while the Rangers improve to 12-9-1 as they head out on a 3 game road trip.  This was the kind of gritty performance the Rangers would put up when Gaborik was out of the lineup and nice to see them get back to it and grind one out tonight with the fore-check, and blocking shots.

Video: Marc Staal Hit on Matt Stajan

Here is the video of the huge hit Marc Staal laid on Matt Stajan.  The hit is being seen in completely opposite fashions based on which team a person supports, but in trying to be as unbiased as possible I see a clean hit where Staal takes him on the opposite shoulder and not the head, stays on the ice the entire time and there is no doubt he rocked him.  I do not see it as being from the blindside as some are saying.  You be the judge and leave it in the comments.

Update: Link to my analysis of the hit which has other video of the hit

Here is the Video and analysis from the Versus Crew

Video: Ethan Werek's Hockey's Future Snapshot

Found this Spotlight of Ethan on the Hockeyfuture's site. Another good interview for Ethan.

Pregame: New York Rangers Looking For Two Straight Wins Host Calgary Flames, 11/22/2010

New York (11-9-1) vs Calgary (8-10-1)

Key Opposition Player: Jarome Iginla (8-8-16)

Rangers Lineup:

Frolov - Stepan - Gaborik
Dubinsky - Anisimov - Callahan
Fedotenko - Boyle - Prust
Avery - Christensen - Boogaard

Staal - Girardi
Del Zotto - Eminger
Gilroy - Sauer


The New York Rangers will take the ice tonight looking to build on the impressive outing they had Saturday night against the Minnesota Wild in their 5-2 victory.  Overall the Rangers through the rollercoaster early season sit 11-9-1 and would love to build some consistency both in play and results, but they will have to remember to do that one game at a time.  Tonight on paper appears to be a game the Rangers should win because of the Flames general struggles, the fact the Flames played last night and not only the fact they blew a 2 goal lead in the third vs Detroit, but how.  Problem is these are the Rangers and the games that seem like locks because of a weaker opponent are the ones they fail to show up to play.  If this team wants to be a good team, a playoff caliber team, you have to beat the teams you are supposed to and hold your own against the better ones.  Another part of that equation is to create a home ice advantage which at 4-6-1 the Rangers have failed to do so far.

This morning we found out that it would be Martin Biron in net for Henrik Lundqvist and this move is a combination of giving Lundqvist time to get his game right and rewarding Biron for his good play.  The lines and D-pairs are expected to stay the same at least to start, but with Tortorella that doesn’t mean much one the puck drops.  For the Rangers I will be watching the Dubinsky-Anisimov-Callahan line as their play has slipped the past week even to the point that Anisimov was replaced by Christensen on Saturday.  I will also be watching Brandon Prust as he will be facing the team that traded him to New York on February 1, 2010.  Prust is still bothered by the charley horse he originally sustained Friday in Colorado but if it didn’t hold him out against Minnesota the next night you can bet he is in there and running on adrenaline against the Flames.  I would expect a fight out of Prust tonight, though not sure who, maybe Tim Jackman?

Calgary as always begins and ends with Jarome Iginla who has been the subject of many trade rumors of late and lucky for the Rangers has found his game after a horrid start.  Iginla has six points in his last two and eight points in his last four, accounting for half of season total.  Everyone in Calgary is on the hot seat for their slow start and they have already started making moves by trading Ian White to Carolina last week.  Olli Jokinen is going to miss tonight’s game while serving a suspension which robs the home fans a chance to boo him but saves the TV audience from having to watch replays of him missing in the final game last year versus the Flyers.

Pregame Thought: Thank you Calgary and Olli Jokinen for being the reasons that the Rangers get to watch Brandon Prust wear a Rangers sweater.

Prediction: Rangers 3-2 (Prust, Gaborik, Callahan)

Biron Starting Tonight vs Calgary; Time To Worry About Lundqvist? (Henrik Poll Q's)

It was announced by take your pick of Rangers beat writers that tonight's game will have Martin Biron between the pipes for the second straight game.  This will be the second time that Biron has started two straight and Rangers fans will hope that the results are the same as last time when he won both of those games.  Personally I have no problem with Biron being in net as overall I believe he has outplayed Lundqvist and given the team a chance to win in 5 of his prior 6 starts.

The real story is not that Biron is net, but that Henrik Lundqvist is not.  Coach John Tortorella was quick to point out that Henrik is still the number one guy and that he would be back in there on Wednesday for a nice easy game against Stamkos and the Lightning.  The reason given for Henrik sitting tonight was to give him a few more days to work with Benoit Allaire on technique after some very inconsistent play so far this season.  Lundqvist has been outstanding at times as evidenced by his two shutouts, but he has been average or worse, at least in results, as evidenced by the fact in his 15 starts he has given up at least 3 goals in 9 of those games, which is just not good enough if this team is to go anywhere this season.

Quote from Henrik and Poll Questions Inside

Brandon Prust: The Gift That Olli Jokinen Brought The Rangers (Carcillo Fight Video)

On February 1 2009 the New York Rangers and Calgary Flames made a trade in which Christopher Higgins and Ales Kotalik would head to Calgary in exchange for Olli Jokinen and Brandon Prust.  At the time of the deal the headlines were all about the Rangers acquiring Jokinen and for Rangers fans the highlight of the trade as much as Olli possibly finding his game were eliminating Kotalik’s extra two seasons at three million dollars a year from the salary cap.  The forgotten man, the media termed throw in to the deal was Brandon Prust.  The thing about it is if you asked Prust what he thought about being the man in the background, the man that was forgotten it wouldn’t bother him in the least because for Prust it is about doing his job, not the recognition or spotlight.

Tonight when the Rangers and Flames meet for the first time since the trade Higgins is no longer in Calgary, Jokinen is back with the Flames but suspended and Kotalik is hurt, so the only one who will suit up for the game will be Brandon Prust and Rangers fans could not be happier about that.  Since arriving nearly ten months ago Prust has made himself a fan favorite because of the way he plays the game.  Prust is not a big guy at 6-foot-2, 192 pounds, especially for a “fighter” type player, but he is absolutely fearless and will take on anyone that wants to go.  That was the book on Prust when the trade happened, not a great fighter but always a willing participant.