The Rangers Game Log

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Game 17 - Rangers 4 at Florida 3 (shootout)

Record: 9-5-3, 21 pts.
Last Year: 0-0-0, 0 pts.
Seen: On MSG and Fox Sports Florida
Standings: 4th in the conference, but beware the four games in hand enjoyed by Philly and Ottawa; three by Carolina
Islanders: Tied for 10th with the Devils

- There was a point during this game at which I started to experience a real sense of dread. Trailing a hard-charging Panthers team in their first game of a five game road trip after dropping the last one at home, I peeked warily at the upcoming games and started, for the first time this season, to have my doubts. I had already tabbed tonight’s game in Tampa against the slumping Lightning as a “must game.” There’s nothing more that can, at times, make this all seem like a house of cards than the nominal number one defense pairing of Michael Roszival and Marek Malik, and the pair was again caught standing motionless in their own zone as, at one point, Nathan Horton was left alone for one, two, three shots on goal, with time to scan through the latest issue of Hockey News in between.

I thought an early turning point was the clean and unpenalized hit on Branislav Mezei by Ryan Hollweg that put him out of the game with an apparent knee injury. The check seemed to energize the Panthers, and they started to skate with purpose and take the play. The visitors were somehow able to weather the storm and find themselves tied at two midway through the game, and the tide seemed to be turning in their favor. Then came one of two awful calls, or non-call in this case, each of which helped to stop their momentum cold. Petr Prucha was at it again, battling in the corner with a much larger player, yet coming away with the puck. The fact that it was against veteran piece of shit Eric Cairns made it only a bit less impressive. Cairns reached out and pulled Prucha down, and incredibly there was no call, even though one of the clueless officials was right on top of the play. Soon after, Malik did his best statue imitation at the blue line as Olli Jokinen whizzed by and he pulled him down, leading to the Panthers’ only power play goal in 11 attempts.

Again in the third, it was the Blueshirts taking the play after killing off a double minor to start the period, as Renney looked to prod the tying goal out of his gritty squad. At one point, after an energetic shift by the 4th line followed by a TV time out, he left Moore and Ortmeyer on and brought out Jagr, who took that shift and then was joined by his regular linemates. When Jay Bouwmeester, who would ultimately turn out to be the goat of the game, took a tripping penalty at 8:47, things were really looking up. For 31 seconds anyway, before Nylander was penalized on an absolutely awful goalie interference call on a play on which he was clearly pushed into Luongo. Not only did it end the power play, but two subsequent Ranger penalties had them shorthanded for much of the next five minutes. Y’know, I’m not one to generally blame the officiating, but these were not only inept decisions, they both came at times at which the Rangers were taking the play to the home team and helped to completely stall their drive.

- The power play clicked on its first attempt, getting much better point play with Martin Straka, whose shot was converted on the rebound by Rucchin. But it proved inept the rest of the night, and once again, the Rangers had that first power play team on late in the game – twice - but couldn’t convert. What exactly was Roszival doing on the ice on the final one in the last minute? He fumbled Jagr’s picture perfect pass in the high slot and then took a penalty to neutralize the advantage with 21 seconds to go.

But credit Renney with having Dominic Moore on the ice at the end. I’m sure that he put him out there specifically so that he could lose the ensuing faceoff cleanly, allowing Bouwmeester to stupidly ice the puck and set up the tying score. Moore did the smart thing – really, the only thing he could do – in throwing the puck at the net, and after nearly two full games of bad bounces, lousy calls, and sticks breaking at the wrong time, the Rangers finally got the break they needed.

- Perhaps the deftest maneuver of the night was the one by Cablevision to scramble and pick up the Fox feed from Florida when MSG lost transmission just after the overtime.

- Sal Messina was in the booth on this night, and when asked before the game what he thought of Lundqvist, he emphasized that he’s great “down low.” Indeed, the Panthers beat the rookie up high for their three goals.


  • At 12:21 PM, Anonymous throwaway said…

    "Dominic Moore still hasn’t scored against anyone other than Montreal, but had good jump and showed some nifty stop-and-go moves. I predict that he’ll score three goals on the upcoming five game road trip."

    So far, so good! Moore worked hard all night, and it was great that he got the goal, just as with Hollweg against the Pens. Too bad that the latter loses ice time when there are too many penalties, since he's not really part of the special teams on either side of the puck.

    Doesn't Prucha make those shootout goals look almost easy? What complements his scoring touch, though, is the way he wins battles in the corner: whereas a guy like Betts works his butt off but often gets bodied off the puck, Prucha, more often than not, comes out of there with the puck.

    Not sure how you're reacting to all this, but we come out of last night with 2 points, and I'm thinking it's getting harder and harder to keep this early success in perspective.


  • At 1:57 PM, Blogger alan said…

    "Not sure how you're reacting to all this, but we come out of last night with 2 points, and I'm thinking it's getting harder and harder to keep this early success in perspective."

    I'm trying to control myself. Everytime I buy into them, it always ends in disappointment. But another couple of wins on this trip (I would have settled for 2-3 before they left) and you may see me walking around with my face painted blue.


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