Thursday, January 12, 2012

Spezza Scores Twice, Anderson Stops 34 In 3-0 Win Over Rangers

The same day the Rangers had Henrik Lundqvist, Dan Girardi and Marian Gaborik announced 2012 NHL All-Stars the Ottawa Senators All-Stars stole the show in Madison Square Garden.  Jason Spezza scored two twice and Milan Michalek while Craig Anderson stopped all 34 Rangers shots in a 3-0 victory.  The loss snapped the Rangers five-game win streak before they head to Canada for a weekend set against Toronto and Montreal.

The Rangers played very well in the first period, but could not solve Anderson before Ottawa got their own offense going.  Jason Spezza opened the scoring 8:54 into the second he used Dan Girardi as a screen from the left faceoff circle to beat Lundqvist.  The play was in transition after Artem Anisimov failed to get the puck deep in the Senators zone, which promptly got Anisimov benched for the remainder of the period.

Michalek made it 2-0 on another transition goal.  After Brian Boyle seemed poised to tie the game before Jason Spezza got his stick in the way to deflect the shot wide, Erik Karlsson pushed the puck up the ice and found Michalek in the slot for the wrist shot that beat Lundqvist.

Spezza continued his work on the power play collecting his own rebound for the final goal of the night.  The Rangers were pressing for a goal to get them back in the game, and it led to a 2-on-1 the other way when Spezza initial stop fell between Lundqvist’s legs, but Lundqvist had no idea where the puck was when Spezza tapped it in.
  • Wolski was noticeable through the first half of the game and solid for his first action in weeks.
  • Anisimov has to raise his level back to where it was earlier.
  • Dubinsky and his energy was clearly missed at different points tonight.

Rangers Lundqvist, Gaborik, Girardi Selected To All-Star Team

This afternoon the NHL announced the remaining All-Star Game roster and the New York Rangers were rewarded for their tremendous first half with three All-Stars on the roster.  Henrik Lundqvist, Marian Gaborik and Dan Girardi were those selected to represent the Rangers in Ottawa at the end of this month.  Lundqvist's first half and Gaborik's resurgence in goal scoring made both of them locks to make the squad, but Girardi was one where it was unclear if his value would truly be noticed. 

The efforts of all Rangers fans to put his name in the conversation through their write-in voting certainly did not hurt Girardi in getting the league recognition he deserves.  Girardi was the key to holding the defense together in the absence of Marc Staal through much of the first half. 

Ryan Callahan and Michael Del Zotto likely got significant consideration for the team, but the combination of others deserving to go and each team needing to be representing left them off the roster.  Next comes the All-Star fantasy draft on January 26.

Carl Haglein was left off the rookie team, but the injury to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins could give Hagelin an outside chance to be a replacement selection later if RNH is not ready to return yet.