The Rangers Game Log

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Game 6 – Atlanta 1 Rangers 5

Record: 3-1-2, 8 pts
Last Year: 0-0-0, 0 pts
Seen: Sec 422/Row D/Seat 7
Points Out of 8th: N/A. First place in the division
Islanders: Crushed 5-1 in Philly as Garth Snow, looking like Frodo after shedding all that equipment this year, is bombarded with 46 Flyer shots.

- The Blueshirts made their first appearance of the year in their third jerseys, the so-called ‘Statue of Liberty’ uniforms that were instituted during the Neil Smith regime in the 1996-97 season. I’m as traditionalist as one can get - I’m opposed to regular season overtime, no less shootouts. In the dark John Ferguson era in the mid-70s when the team was outfitted in those hideous uniforms with the crest on the front, I was plunged into drugs and despair, and I placed an emergency call to my therapist upon seeing them revived on occasion last season.

But I’ve always liked these third jerseys (not so much the year they wore them in a white version), and I do particularly enjoy it when they hit the ice in them. Maybe it’s because it reminds me of something called ‘playoffs,’ as the team wore them frequently during the 1997 playoff run.

- Big plays: “What team is this?” asked a fan in my section last night. Another night of spunk and hustle from all four lines against an Atlanta team that they rarely beat even before they added a major Ranger killer in Peter Bondra. The hard work was never more apparent on the big second goal. Despite all the energy on a rare, though no longer unprecedented Saturday night home game, as well as the presence of the Thrashers’ 4th string goalie, it was just a 1-0 game midway through, and the home team was spending some time in its own zone against what should be a dangerous offensive team. Jed Ortmeyer had drawn a penalty by going to the net, and after Kasparaitus, who set the tone with some early hits, kept the puck in at the point, the Rangers controlled and Ortmeyer nudged the puck to Dominic Moore along the boards. Moore outhustled and absolutely undressed Bondra with a nifty move and got the puck around to Straka who found Nylander, on as the extra man. His low shot was stopped but Ortmeyer was one of three blueshirts right in front and he tapped it home. It was Straka's 7th assist.

Thirty seconds later, the Rangers scored with some flash instead of grit. Steve Rucchin started the rush with a nice outlet pass to Hossa from his own zone. He fed Rucinsky on the left wing, who pulled up and made a gorgeous backhand flip pass to Rucchin, joining the play, who scored on his second shot after the first was blocked. Perhaps this team has a bit more talent than many thought. I don’t think that before the season one would expect them to win 5-1 without Jagr (who had two assists) scoring a goal.

- The crowd alternated chants of “Hen-reek” and “Lund-quist” as the Rangers’ goalie put on a show in the third. The rookie who really isn’t one made some nifty saves as the Thrashers pressured (too) late. He seems to have a particularly quick stick hand and uses his blocker deftly to steer shots away. He stopped every shot the Thrashers threw at him, losing his shutout on an own-goal off Kasparaitus’s skate. I prefer the “Hen-reek” myself, but the fact is that some goalies’ names are just not that suitable for chanting. Take Kevin Weekes for example. Lundquist’s style is more flashy and crowd-pleasing, both between the pipes and otherwise, as he was flamboyant when acknowledging the crowd’s cheers when coming on the ice as the game’s first star. Woe be to Weekes the next time he allows a soft one at home; it’s the type of situation that can be tough on the first-string goaltender.

- Renney continued to tinker with the top line, trying Niemenen in place of Prucha in the third period; a combination which resulted in the Finn’s second goal in two games.


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