The Rangers Game Log

Monday, November 21, 2005

Games 21 - 23

Game 21: Rangers 1 at Carolina 5
Game 22: Carolina 3 Rangers 4
Game 23: Boston 2 Rangers 3

Record: 13-7-3, 29 pts
Last Year: 0-0-0, 0 pts.
Conference Standings: Three way tied for second
Islanders: Lingering a bit like the stench at Fulton Fish Market, having benefited from a soft stretch in the schedule.

- If I hadn’t been away for the weekend and neglected my blog, I would have, after the loss in Carolina, made the following observation regarding a 3-2 road trip that we would have been thrilled with had the two losses not come after three wins to open the trip: If they sweep the two home games over the weekend, then those two losses are meaningless.

And so, the ‘2’ in 3-2 becomes nothing more than part of the record from a successful road trip, rather than the start of a backslide into the general population of the Eastern Conference. I drove four hours back from southern Vermont on Sunday afternoon, arriving home with little time to rest before loading a reluctant Head Chef, who still doesn’t grasp the fact that a trip to a Rangers game can actually be entertaining after four years of putting up with them…..and with me putting up with them, into the car for the drive to Manhattan.

To show you how little of the perspective that I’ve urged us all to keep I still retain after merely seven measely regulation losses in 23 games, I actually found myself a bit disappointed that they weren’t more dominant against a struggling Bruins’ squad that has now lost six in a row. It certainly wasn’t a bad game for the Blueshirts, and Henryk Lundqvist made just one memorable save (though what a save it was, robbing 20 year old Patrice Bergeron), but I’d told the Head Chef that I was expecting something along the lines of a 4-1 triumph.

It was a bit of a strange game. The Garden was full once again, and with the Thanksgiving holiday upon us and old rival Boston in town, I sensed a real buzz in the air. Tom Renney is unpredictable if nothing else, and did not return to the formula of starting the 4th line which proved so effective in setting the tone the day before. The home team still got off to a quick start, but the game slowed down pretty quickly, and we never saw much of the wide open play that has become more commonplace in this latest era of the NHL. But all four lines – and when’s the last time that we’ve seen this kind of stability in the line combos – and the defense played fairly soundly in the team’s third game in four days, and tenth in 18.

The power play, which accounted for three goals on Saturday and one on Sunday, remains a bit of an enigma. The situation on the point has not been resolved despite Roszival’s goal on Saturday, and when they failed to convert and add to a 1-0 lead on three chances in the second, it brought a sense of dread which was verified when the Bruins tied the game early in the third. Then Jagr’s power play goal got the Rangers back on track. What an amazing little backhand shove-pass to Niemenen he made on the eventual winning goal.

A word on Maxim Kondratiev, about whom I seem to have a different opinion than some others; guess I’m noticing the good, while others notice the bad. He did seem a bit shakier to me last night, but still chipped in with four hits, and is consistently amongst the team leaders in that category. I would still like to see him get a shot at the point on the first power play unit. Going back to the first period of Thursday’s game, a low, on-net bee-bee on a one-timer indicates to me that he could possibly supply some of the shot threat that the team needs in order to help relieve some of the pressure teams are putting on Jagr.

- Five hits for Ryan Hollweg. An off night on face-offs for Betts and Moore, who dominated them the day before. The team could use a rest, but they hit the road for two more games this week, including a Thanksgiving night game in Atlanta, what the hell is up with that? Remember, when the Wednesday night before was a traditional home game and major party night? The marijuana smoke in the stairwells was particularly thick on those nights… Yet another game, at home, on Saturday night, and then a much needed four day break.

1 Comments:

  • At 6:46 AM, Anonymous throwaway said…

    Welcome back.

    Mercifully missed the 1st Carolina game, but as I entered MSG for the rematch I was a bit nervous about the possibility of a tailspin. But again, the Rangers showed that the best antidote to an extended losing streak is hard work. The Rangers dominated faceoffs and special teams, and beat a tough Carolina club. There were a few miscues along the way: Roszival made a bad pinch early, and then inexcusably failed to get the puck deep late in a 1-goal game; a couple of sloppy dump-ins short of the red line that went for icings (Hossa, Niemenan?). But overall, a solid effort, typified by Ortmeyer's hard work; the only thing missing for him was that he muffed his shot at a poetic justice goal (ie. where a player plays hard all night and gets a well-deserved goal, as Hollweg did vs. Pitt., for instance). Jagr's passing has been injcredible, as they've adjusted their powerplay approach a bit.

    The team looked tired vs. Boston, yet seemed like they were toying with the Bruin defensemen early. But as they failed to cash in on their chances, the game had the feel of one of those where you dangerously let the opponent stick around too long. Again, nice to see the Rangers have enough to prevail in this type of game as well, even though, as you noted, it was a team they probably should have beaten more convincingly.

    11

     

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