Friday, November 05, 2010

NYR vs NJD ~ Battle of the Hudson, Pt. 2

The Rock; Newark ~ Pregame, NYR vs NJD

The Battle of the Hudson resumes tonight as the New York Rangers cross the river to take on the New Jersey Devils in Newark tonight.

Martin Brodeur will not be playing tonight due to a sore shoulder after taking a puck to his arm earlier this week.  And Ryan Callahan of the Blueshirts will also be a scratch for this evening's game, as he got a little banged up last night versus Philadelphia.

It's awfully hard to knock the Rangers right now considering the players we have sitting out with injuries; namely Gaborik, Prospol and Drury.  The Rangers have been caught in a win two; lose two; win; lose..cycle lately.  That's to be expected.  With little to no depth to work with at the moment, the Blueshirts are just trying to maintain pace.  They're doing a commendable job too.

It's just that we have no room for error even when we are at full strength.  It's the same old story with us.  We lack size and we have no qualified sniper on the wing.  Torts has been riding our top line of Callahan, Anisimov and Dubinsky hard.  Then again he hasn't really had a choice.  All three of them are responding to Torts' "demands" they be the core and play as such.

The Rangers played impressively against the Leafs beginning this last stretch of games.  Then got trashed by the Thrashers; played an excellent game against the Bruins; lost a tough, hard fought game against the Hurricanes and squeezed in another victory in there against Chicago.

Last night however, what was clearly evident against the Flyers in Philly was what has been our plight for eons upon eons....our lack of size.  That's a conversation in Rangers' philosophy and not for right now.

We couldn't really muster much against them last night because Philly pushed us out wide and didn't let us loiter around the slot much.  Sometimes you can skate through and around their lumbering size.  Last night they could not in a game I was hyped for and a game the team was said to be exceptionally geared up to play.

The Devils?  Wow!  They have more problems than a math book.  Their defense is non-existent, they've wrestled with the Kovalchuk issue and Brodeur was off his game very early - even getting pulled from a game in the earliest days of this season.  After taking a puck off the arm two games ago, he will sit tonight.  Now the latest calamity to befall the Devils comes courtesy of Zach Parise.  He'll be out for a reported three months with a bad knee.  That's all they needed right now.  However, they didn't sleep in a Holiday Inn but they did have a good game against Chicago, and like the Rangers, beat the defending Stanley Cup Champs in their last game.

The ONLY real positive news to come out of Newark so far this season was the Devils' announcement they will be retiring Scott Niedermayer's jersey and Number 27 sometime this season.  I believe that is well deserved by the way.

Now more than ever Patrick Elias and Jason Arnott need to carry the load more than ever.  They've been MIA throughout October.  November has to be better for the both of them.

Kovalchuk?  He's suffering from a bad start.  He'll eventually score goals but the other guys need to show up right now.  Like I said tonight they'll have to go it without Brodeur and Parise.  Brodeur will be missing his first game this season after 14 games played.  Johan Hedberg will get the start against the Rangers tonight.

Henri will be in net for the Blueshirts.

Game time is another 25 minutes away.  Let's get it this latest installment of the Battle of the Hudson.

The Rangers beat the Devils the last time these teams met.  I look for them to repeat that feat and correct last night's sloppy, ugly loss against the Flyers with substantially better play tonight.  With Callahan out of the line-up I'm hoping Tort's will shuffle the lines and pair AVERY together with more scoring potential for tonight.  Regardless, I still think Avery is due for a very explosive night and he loves playing against the Devils...even though Marty is sitting this one out.

Game time is fifteen minutes away.  Let's Get It ON!  The latest installment of the Battle of the Hudson comes now.


Tonight at "The Rock"
Newark, New Jersey

Rangers  1
Devils     0
Goal: NYR, Dubinsky.    Assist: Anisimov, Frolov
Brandon Dubinsky's 9th goal leads the team.

Rangers  2
Devils     0
*Goal: NYR, Girardi (2).    Assist: Anisimov, Dubinsky
*Power Play goal.

Lundqvist ~ 23 saves
Henrik Lundqvist is the best player on the ice so far.

Devils out shooting the Rangers:
NJD 23 Shots on Goal
NYR 12 Shots on Goal

***Dubinsky goal now being credited to Brian Boyle.

Rangers  3
Devils     0


Goal: NYR, Dubinsky (10th) - Shorthanded.

NJD - 5 Minute Major Penalty to Clarkson; Boarding on Brian Boyle; 
NYR do not score.

Rangers bounce back after last night's loss;
Devils fall deeper into their Hell.

A bedeviling season continues for the Newark Demons as Henrik Lundqvist shut out the rival Devils yet again.  He stopped 33 shots to gain victory over the spiraling Jersey club and in doing so, corrected last night's loss to the Flyers.

Brandon Dubinsky was denied a Hat Trick.  His 2nd period goal was later credited to Brian Boyle.
None-the-less, Brandon scored two goals tonight which gives him 10 for this young season.  When the season began I stated he'd need to score at least 30 goals in order for the Rangers to be a playoff contender (along with Callahan).  He may be coming into his own now.  This season may be his coming out.  He certainly seems to be responding to Tort's prodding.

I thought Torts would make an effort to put a better line around Avery as Callahan was a scratch.
It didn't work out that way.  Avery played a quietly effective game.  He's been quite the model citizen so far.  I'm hoping Torts can open up his situation a bit.  The guy is a good hockey player who I think is being underutilized.  But that's just me.

It's a disturbing time across the river.  Kovalchuk, Arnott, Elias,.....where are they?  What the entire Metropolitan area Hockey fan wants to know is what happened to the Devils?  Lundqvist was exceptional in goal tonight, but to a man, I'm sure the Devils are speechless, but would still muster words saying how Lundqvist is the least of their problems.

The Devils had better retire Niedermayer's jersey sooner than later so as to give their fans something to cheer about before it gets ugly out in Newark.  Mayor Booker already has enough problems out there.  Coach MacLean used his "pick on my Superstar" card way way early against Kovalchuk.  What possible motivational technique can he employ now that will get his players' attention?  He went for the Bazooka early and now he may be left holding only a sling shot. 

Of course I know it's only November.  It's the only thing the Devils have going for them at the present time.  The situation is definitely a matter I'll be watching closely.


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