Sunday, March 20, 2011

N.Y. RANGERS ~ Momentum and Power of a Glacier

As of FRIDAY, March 18, 2011
Montreal Canadiens at New York Rangers

NEW YORK RANGERS:  Sacre Bleu!  Le' Blueshirts trounce Montreal Canadiens.


The crowd was crazy from the time they turned down the lights and played the introductory "I Am A Ranger" clip on the scoreboard until somewhere in the neighborhood of 10pm.  I'm a real sucker for that clip.  It always manages to bud a tear in my eye, especially when they get to Greschner's goal in '79.  

The crowd action was nice!... and the arena had a great feel.  But I was most happiest for my son.  Over the last eight years The Garden hasn't rocked like I know it can.  We had our moments.  But Friday night was an absolutely terrific atmosphere.  He was electrified by it and asked me if this is the way it used to be...?  I said..yea Dude - After tonight, will you catch up on something that's been missing from your Ranger Experience.  When you leave here tonight, you will finally have understanding into why Ranger Fans are who we are.

This game was one of those games that connects and binds generations of Ranger fans.  Every once in a while, a game like this sneaks up on you.  You go into it thinking and feeling one way, but you leave having been part a regular season game that transcends 85 years of Ranger hockey and why it's so special in our lives.

I hadn't heard the Garden drown out the National Anthem in quite some time; Not like this - Not since John Amarante was a little younger and could really belt out a tune; and all the while egging us on.

I'm going to give credit where credit is due.  Thank you Montreal Canadien fans.  That's right!  Montreal Canadien fans abounded Friday night.  Their enthusiasm whipped a rambunctious Ranger crowd into a frenzy.  And this was all before the opening face-off.

Triple-Witching was in full effect.  I knew it would be raucous.  An Original Six match-up against the Canadiens, on a balmy Friday Night, as the season winds down with the Rangers desperate for points would provide for an interesting night one way or another.  Right?

A fight one second into the contest set the tone for the rest of the game!  Oh Yea!  The night would be grand indeed!  Brandon Prust and Montreal's Travis Moen dropped gloves as soon as the puck slapped ice during the opening face-off.  There were no clear punches connected, as they did more wrestling.  But Brandon Prust got Moen down then picked up; put him down again then picked him up before the Zebras intervened.  The Garden went BONKERS!

The Rangers scored first.  Artem Anisimov's breakaway goal ignited a Fan reaction that cracked the walls and had dust falling from the ceiling of Madison Square Garden.  Oh wait, that was the renovation work Dolan is making us pay for; Sorry.  But Anisimov's goal was Fandom Dynamite; The Garden blew up with cheer.

Montreal's PK Subban tied the game at 1-1.  But then the Rangers turned into a Big Blue Bulldozer  and plowed through the Canadiens all period long.  Actually, Montreal gave us the crease all night.  Ryan Callahan was doing pirouettes in front of the net.  So many scoring chances came off a pass from behind the net to numerous, unmolested Blueshirts in front of the net.

The Rangers powered-up for four more goals in the first period, chasing Montreal's Carey Price from net in the process.  Girardi, Callahan, Gaborik, and Boyle all would score for the Blueshirts.  When the horn blew ending the first twenty minutes of carnage, the scoreboard red Rangers 5;  Canadiens 1.  The crowd rained down adulation for their team.

The Canadiens got a goal back in the second period but neither team did much else.  Then Montreal scored again to begin the third period.  The Garden crowd stayed strong.  And Vinny Prospal rewarded The Garden crowd's Friday Night Fever with another goal (power play) to ice things up.

The Rangers won 6-3 and from start to finish, it was glorious.  But no hard won battle is without it's casualties.  Montreal ran our King which stopped the game for a very long and uncomfortable few minutes.  Henrik finished the game to earn his 30th win of the season, but it cost him a stiff neck, and for the fans a headache.

This was the Rangers' third win in a row.  They are stringing together points at the most crucial time in their soon to be ending regular season.  This team refuses to fold.  They've been under duress and due to injury, have been stretched to their limits and beyond at times.  The Blueshirts have had to bend mightily.  But right now the recoil from all that stored up potential energy is providing for a strong Ranger finish.

May they continue.

Sunday, March 20, 2011
New York Rangers at Pittsburgh Penguins

New York Rangers   5
Pittsburgh Penguins  2

NEW YORK RANGERS:  KINGs of the Ice Age.

From Midtown Manhattan, through the St. Lawrence River Valley to the Allegheny Mountains - those aren't scars carved in the bedrock and left behind as a signature of the last Ice Age.  No...that's the New York Rangers grinding their way through the north east corridor on their way to the playoffs.  It just so happens they've started to advance forward with the steady momentum and power of a glacier.

Montreal ran our goalie Friday night and the Penguins would try too.  Brandon Dubinsky and Michael Sauer would have none of it Sunday afternoon.  When Pittsburgh tried, Dubinsky took on two black jerseys and Sauer flattened another.  Our Liege would take care of the rest with a stiff neck and all.

Ryan Callahan took a high stick to the nose which drew blood. 
Matt Cooke; Yea! That Matt Cooke - Mario Lemieux's Matt Cooke, delivered another very high and unnecessary elbow to McDonagh.  Gasp!

Yea well, Good!  Because that would be Pittsburgh's last indiscretion and the beginning of their unravelling.  McDonagh would get the last swipe.  He'd have two in fact.  He skated in untouched against PITT-Fluery and had his shot; then a second shot off his own rebound.  Fluery stopped them both but Derek Stepan was there to slam a loose puck home to make the score 4-2 Rangers.

There was a moment for the Rangers when this game could have really fallen apart like Charlie Sheen.  During the 5-minute major for Matt Cook's elbow, Pitt's Chris Kunitz started the third period scoring with a short-handed goal to break the 1-1 tie.  That's when the Blueshirt glacier decided to just grind Pittsburgh's new little igloo down to a snow cone.

Crunch ~ Marian Gaborik on the power Play;
Crunch ~ Ryan Callahan 11 seconds later;
Crunch ~ Derek Stepan slamming home a McDonagh rebound;
Crunch ~ ...and an empty-netter by Brandon Dubinsky finished off the Penguins in a most formidable fashion.  It was a great follow-up performance to Friday night's display of force.

Keep Crunching Boys!


Ryan Callahan said Torts is "...great..blah blah" part of some post game comments.  OK...we know all about their mutual Man-Love they share for each other.  But I wonder if Sean Avery feels the same way?  He was a healthy scratch again for the third time in the last four games.  I wondered aloud how long it would be before Sean Avery saw ice again after his game against the Islanders last Tuesday night.  Well, we're finding out.  Coach Torts is making Avery pay a stiff price for his last on-ice effort. The thing is, the Rangers are 4-0 in their last four games and 3-0 with Avery scratched.  Avery's last game came against a team (the Islanders) that is not near to being on-par with San Jose, Montreal and Pittsburgh; the three teams the Rangers beat with Avery benched. 

We are playing must win games and Coach is saying Avery must sit.  Beating the Pens; Habs; and Sharks is no easy task.  So for Avery, there's no challenge to the Coach's decision.   What happens from this moment on is now any-body's guess.  It's clear Coach Torts has no use for Sean Avery.  There is a complete disconnect.


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