From the desk of: RAISE GRESCH WITH THE BEST
NEW YORK RANGERS: Two Jesters in King Henrik's Court.
GAME ONE - The first period ended after the teams traded even strength goals. Los Angeles opened the scoring. Then Captain Callahan led a charge and tied the game at one. The second period ended with the teams trading penalties if nothing else. Kyle Clifford and Brandon Prust each got five for fighting.
Then half way through the third period, the Blueshirt avatar; Marian Gaborik: materialized and put the Rangers ahead by one. He was assisted by his new line-mates; Brandon Dubinsky; and the Rangers latest next great thing; Brad Richards.
Oh, happy day!
Then...? Those Rangers became very generous with their most hospitable Swedish hosts. Let's just say it was Free Hockey and Extra Minutes for everyone in attendance. Five minutes after Gaborik's goal put the Rangers ahead, the Kings tied the game at two on a Mike Richards goal.
At 4:08 of the over-time session, the game ended. L.A. scored. It was the Kings who would reign over Henrik and the Blueshirts, done in by a Ryan McDonagh penalty in over-time.
"...a stupid one in the third. And another stupid one in over-time..." - Coach Torts.
Yep. I couldn't agree with Coach more. The stupid third period penalty Brian Boyle took stopped our best period cold. We had thirteen shots on goal; our best output of the night. But the whistle prevented us from playing at full strength to close regulation time. And obviously, the over time penalty by McDonagh led to the losing power play goal.
Two stupid penalties; One big let-down; Too bad. The European Battle of Kings was lost.
NEW YORK RANGERS: My Kingdom for a Goal!
GAME TWO - ...Those Ducks sure are chippy. This was a game polluted with penalties from the very beginning. All the good ones too; fighting; slashing; roughing; and boarding. But for the second consecutive game the Rangers fell behind 1-0 in the first period.
Unlike game one, the Rangers couldn't tie the score before the first period ended. They couldn't tie the score in the second period either. After two periods, the Rangers only had 12 shots on goal and they were 0-6 on the Power Play.
Half way through the third period and still no Ranger shots on goal, Brian Boyle got whistled for hooking. There's that name again. With .05 left in the penalty kill, Henrik saved the Rangers from a certain 2-0 doom with a brilliant save. The Rangers had 8:00 minutes left to show Henrik their appreciation.
Four minutes later, still nothing besides their first two shots on goal of the period.
Then six minutes after Henrik's big save, a SCORE! Brad Richards tied the score at one. It came when the Ducks failed to clear and McDonagh (game one goat) kept play in Anaheim's zone. Brad Richards was down low and top shelved a puck past Ducks' goalie-Jonas Hiller.
For the second time in two days, the Rangers gave the Swedish Fans in attendance free Hockey and extra minutes for everybody. And after the over-time session failed to produce a hero, the Fans in attendance were treated to even more Hockey bang for their Euro buck. New York Rangers game two was headed towards a shoot out.
Ducks - Save Lundqvist.
NYR - Christensen; no goal.
Ducks - Save Lundqvist.
NYR - Richards; no goal.
Ducks - Save Lundqvist.
NYR - Zuccarello; no goal.
Ducks - Goal past Lundqvist's glove side.
NYR - Anisimov; no goal.
That's the way it ended. The Rangers went 0 for Europe but it's way two, too early to start the..... you know; stuff. But lets do a little bit anyway.
After six periods of regulation time, the Blueshirts have been on par with their two competitors. It's been the extra minutes that have proven ruinous so far. And how is our old friend the power play doing? After two games, the Blueshirts are a familiar 0-8 on the power play and a customary 1-11 on the penalty kill so far. How much did the absence of Marc Staal affect the Rangers? We'll discuss that during the week ahead.
That's it. Tex's Rangers European Tour is over. It's time for Henrik and the Blueshirts to wave good-bye to Sweden and the rest of the grand Old World. But not before saying sorry first - Sorry, the Rangers couldn't give their liege more goals in front of his kindred folks. Shame on them.
The Rangers will not play again for another week. They will play one game in the NYC area on October 15th. They'll get to sleep in their own beds one last time when they visit the Islanders. Then the Blueshirts go international again with five games in the Great White North; Canada.
The Rangers' home ice opener isn't till Oct. 27th, against the Maple Leafs. Time was scheduled to make Madison Square Garden presentable during the on-going renovations.