The Rangers Game Log

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Game 8 – Islanders 2* Rangers 2
Record – 4-1-3, 11 points
Last Year – 0-0-0, 0 pts
Points Out of 8th – Nah, still in first
Islanders – Off since Saturday, dressed down by the coach and GM, driven through two punishing practices, with talk of revenge for the season sweep in 2003-04, and the best they could come up with is to have their goalie stand on his head to bail them out?

* I think shootouts are stupid, so I won’t be acknowledging their result, unless the Rangers win.

- Two songs come to mind today. One, the Buffalo Springfield’s ‘For What It's Worth’, goes “There’s something happening here….What it is ain’t exactly clear.” And the other is the theme from the Twilight Zone. October 19, eight games into what is supposed to be a rebuilding season, and the Garden was as tense as the White House as they await the Plamegate indictments. What exactly is going on here? I know, we’re supposed to be happy just to see a young team with a future coming out and giving it all every night, but I guess earning at least a point in six of the first seven games can get people thinking. And it didn’t hurt that the despised rivals were in town, because who could possibly stomach the bubble being burst by the Fish Sticks?

With both teams outfitted in their classic jerseys, it seemed like old times, as the action rocked back and forth (mostly forth, in the Rangers’ case), with the crowd inflating and deflating accordingly along with the plot twists. After a first period in which the home team dominated to the point where I found myself laughing at times, but found themselves down 1-0 (for the first time this year), I saw Ranger fans slumped in their seats with their familiar expressions of impending doom. That was actually nice to see, because the cause had been so hopeless in past years that too many times the prevailing mood was one of apathy.

Big Plays: It seemed like the same old new story in the first, as the Blueshirts spent virtually the entire first fifteen minutes in the Fish Stick zone, only to be frustrated by Rick DiPietro. For the second game in a row, Marek Malik was absolutely robbed on what should have been a simple stuff-in off a cross-ice pass. Half the crowd had already started to celebrate, but there was to be no Rangers Goal song. (NOTE: Can we PLEASE get rid of that fucking thing already?) Malik must be wondering if he’ll ever score. Besides the 35 shots fired on DiPietro, the Rangers shot wide or fanned on a multitude of others, not to mention Jagr breaking his stick on his shootout try.

The own-goal off of Jagr’s pass/shot was a crucial one, getting the team back into the game immediately after they seemed to be taken out of it. But the Isles were able to settle down and take the crowd out of the game after that, using an aggressive deep forechecking scheme to repel the Blueshirts’ attack over the next 12 minutes or so. Jason Blake was by far their best player besides DiPietro, and on one power play, he pinned the Rangers in their own zone virtually single-handedly for the first 30 seconds. Thus it helped that it was Blake who was penalized when the power play finally clicked late in regulation after seven failures as Petr Prucha, seeing ice time at that crucial stage of the game despite getting less than eight minutes total for the game, stood his ground in slot traffic to tip in Tyutin’s low shot toward the net.

- The Rangers had two shots in OT, and Prucha and Tom Poti were robbed by DiPietro, the latter after a great spin-o-rama move from the point. Prucha will likely see more ice time, as Renney hinted post-game of some lineup changes for tonight’s rematch.

- Lundqvist probably played his best game of the season in “defeat.”

- Doesn't it always seem like the Rangers play more games than anyone else early and that other teams always have games in hand?


  • At 9:21 AM, Anonymous throwaway said…

    Fantastic game last night. Great feel to the Garden. A few points to add to your usual thorough recap:

    -Before the shootout started, I think I was the lone voice of dissent in my section speaking out against it. I had a sinking feeling in my gut before it started, not b/c I expected us to lose it, but b/c it just isn't right to end a hockey game that way. My short explanation: this is a team game, our advantage last night was our TEAM depth, (our 4th friggin' line kicked their ass all night!), and all of that becomes irrelevant with the shootout.

    -Didn't agree with Renney using Malik/Rozsival so much for the powerplay point -- too cautious, not enough offense generated. I'm not a Poti fan, but he was good last night and should have been used better. He finally put Tyutin back there, and he fired the shot that Prucha redirected.

    -I liked the Betts' line early, but they seemed to lose their legs late, and Moore's line was actually stronger late. I like the offensive punch Straka adds to Betts/Ward and would play him with them instead of Niemenan.

    -Not sure what Hossa did wrong, but he sat part of the 3rd -- unless they just wanted to double Jagr there for more offense.

    -With the new rules re. penalties, it's tough to knock a guy like Jagr off the puck -- would have been nice to have Pavel Bure with him on the powerplay instead of, say, Rucinsky.


  • At 12:08 PM, Blogger alan said…

    I agree about Malik/Rozsival on the point. I don't know if these guys don't want to shoot, or if they're told not to. The point shot doesn't seem to be a key component of the power play strategy when Jagr is on the ice. But both goals were really the result of just throwing the puck towards the net, so they should be doing more of that for sure. Tyutin just created a shot there when either of those other guys would have passed it elsewhere. I don't think Hossa did anything wrong, but he seemed a bit overwhelmed by the fast pace of the game.

    And man, can you imagine Jagr setting up Bure on the pp? I really like Rucinsky, but he fires blanks too many times.

  • At 3:20 PM, Anonymous throwaway said…

    I didn't notice that with Hossa, but I'll take your word for it. Brooks had suggested a similar thing, but his article didn't seem to have a good grasp of the game, so I had disregarded it. I guess it's not unusual to see different things in a game. I had noticed Niemenan have a particularly bad shift where he didn't get the puck deep and got stuck on the ice way beyond his shift; but I didn't see anyone mention it. Also, Ward tried to be too fancy on a rush into the offensive zone, leading to a Fishstick counterattack.

    If they're concerned with team speed, you and I may have to start a "Bring Back Hollweg" movement.

    Won't be able to see tonight's game -- you're my eyes for this one.


  • At 7:18 AM, Blogger alan said…

    Hey, I thought you were going to be MY eyes!


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