Saturday, January 1, 2011

Lundqvist, Late Goal Get Rangers Point They Don't Deserve Against Lightning

The New York Rangers took the ice looking for their third straight win, but you would not know they were playing that well based on the display they put out there this evening.  Simple fact of the matter is the Rangers did not deserve to even get one point tonight, so I guess there is that positive to take out of this performance.  Only a few Rangers players even bothered to show up tonight and thankfully for the team Henrik Lundqvist was at the top of that list.  Henrik was stellar again and other than the flukey goal and the easy tap-in in OT he stood on his head to keep the team in the game.  What he has to witness on the other end was his offense making a goalie making his second career start look like a Vezina trophy winner.  To Desjardins credit he did make some very good saves in the game, but he also had a lot of help from the Rangers shooters as everything was either low or to the glove.  There was not one shot high to the blocker side and there was little to no traffic in front of the net all night.  

The Rangers would finally see a sign that their star player actually felt like showing up tonight when with 46 seconds left he would score the tying goal.  I know the fact he scored will make a lot of people feel better, but I still believe it was a pitiful performance.  The goal itself was created mainly by Dan Girardi with help from Brandon Dubinsky and Artem Anisimov.  Girardi pinches in when the puck was played around by Tampa, takes the hit to keep the play alive, then Anisimov helped along the boards.  Once Tampa had control again it went to Martin St. Louis, but as he was going to clear Brandon Dubinsky stopped him with a great stick play which caused the turnover.  Girardi gets the puck along the wall fires a pass to the slot where Gaborik partially flubs a wrister but beats Desjardins for the goal at 19:14.

The Rangers get the game to OT based on the late goal and then immediately give the game away when Dana Tyrell comes down the boards into the Rangers zone and Sauer has him pretty well covered but Matt Gilroy inexplicably hurls himself across the ice supposedly attempting to block the centering attempt, misses, and in the process left Nate Thompson wide-open in front for the tap-in 19 seconds into OT.

Another game, so of course another lousy first period effort put up by the Rangers.  The team was completely dominated as they were flat from the start and it never seemed to get better.  The highlight of the period other than Lundqvist was a defensive play by Michal Rozsival to break up a two-on-one for Steven Stamkos.  In the low-lights section there were plenty of odd-man rushes surrendered and overall awful puck management. 

The Lightning would score at 13:03 when after a lousy play in the offensive zone in which Gaborik gave instead of tracking back stepped up and instead of actually trying to hit the guy he sticks his knee out and gets nothing leading the Lightning the other way.  Dana Tyrell finally breaks in and looks towards the middle where Michael Sauer had taken away the pass option and Tyrell gets lucky as the puck slides off his stick and finds its way through the legs of Lundqvist.

The team would play somewhat better in the second, but the stars were the goaltenders as Lundqvist was stellar at his end and while he had some help from the Rangers typical inability to lift the puck Desjardins would make some very good saves of his own. 
  • Anisimov, Boyle, Dubinsky, Prust were the only positively noticeable forwards.  Stepan and Zuke had some flashes as well.
  • Staal, Girardi and Rozsival played very for the defense and the team did hold the big three scoreless though that was mainly due to Henrik..
  • Personally I am tired of Marian "the magician's" disappearing act and will have more on that tomorrow.
  • I did enjoy the Rangers team taking turns defending Lundqvist against Dominic  Moore as Dubinsky, Boyle, Rozsival and Eminger all took their turn.