The Rangers Game Log

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Game 15 - Rangers 3 Devils 2 (Shootout)

Record: 8-4-3, 19 pts.
Last Year: 0-0-0, 0 pts.
Seen From: Sec 422/D/5
Islanders: It must have been a particular sense of dread for Islander fans with which they headed into an almost unwinnable game in Ottawa after seeing their hated rivals win once again. They lost 6-0

- Big Plays 8-4-3 seems like pretty lofty territory, doesn’t it? The Blueshirts got two points by virtue of Petr Prucha’s shoot-out goal and they haven’t lost to the Devils in regulation in four games now, earning 11 out of 12 seven out of eight (long weekend) possible points, wow.

It was only fitting that Prucha scored the winning tally, as his hard work helped to lead his team out of a funk that led to a 2-0 deficit midway through the game. Weekes was beaten on a perfect ringer off the post by Gionta, his third goal in two games against the Rangers’ netminder, who as otherwise solid and in no way deserved the handful of derisive cheers that greeted his next save...I mean, please!

Besides his flashy offensive talents, Prucha shows a remarkable ability to come out of the corners with pucks won from much beefier opponents. The mood at the Garden was grim as the Rucchin-Hossa-Prucha line came on following the Devs’ second goal. Roszival, who played a great game, shot the puck in and Prucha, with help from Marcel Hossa, who had his best game in weeks, went to work. Prucha pursued the puck into the corner and took a stiff check from six-foot-three, 215 pound Sean Brown. Yet with his legs always churning he managed to come away with the puck, shaking off another attempt by the frustrated Brown, and eventually helped set up a scoring chance when he took a run at Erik Rasmussen, who gave it away right to Rucchin for the shot. Though they didn’t score (and in fact Weekes had to stop Rasmussen on an ensuing two-on-one), it was a portent of the hard work that the home team displayed for the rest of the game.

On the next shift for this line, Brian Rafalski beat Prucha to the puck in the corner of the Devils’ zone, but Prucha smacked the veteran defenseman to the boards, bounced off and fell. He got himself right up, went back and picked up the puck kinda like ‘oops, forgot something,’ and again came away with clear possession. Some additional good work by Hossa led to the first of two penalties that would give the Blueshirts the five-on-three on which Prucha converted Jagr’s pass to get them on the board.

- I haven’t been as down on Niemenen as many others seem to be, at least stupid penalties aside. But it took me a long time to think of who was scratched in order to dress Strudwick as a forward, so I guess I didn't miss him. Renney seems to be making those little moves that help the team win. Kondratiev had a solid game, and Strudwick played a key role in the hard work tying goal, crashing the net (which I guess isn’t as big of a deal as it used to be) and getting his stick on the puck before Betts found it for the score.

- Sign of the times: The New York Times is no longer printing NHL box scores other than for the three local teams. So while you’ll still be able to see who led the Sacramento Kings in offensive rebounds, forget about seeing who scored the winning goal in any hockey game not involving a local team. I wonder if they’ve gotten a single complaint.

- I still think shootouts are stupid, but the crowd was on their feet throughout, and the roars and groans were resounding. Weekes looked like Mike Richter on his contortionist stop on Langenbrunner, and Jagr ran into bad luck for the second time in his two shootout attempts.

- The game started a grueling week. Yes, it's true, the Rangers DO play teams other than Montreal, New Jersey, and the Islanders. Monday’s game against the Pens is the first of four games in six days; with road games in Florida, Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh on Wed, Thurs, and Saturday nights, eek.


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