The Rangers Game Log

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Out of Sync

- I dunno, it seemed like the Rangers were just a bit out of sync last night in their 3-2 loss to the Canucks. Certainly in the first period, when Vancouver came at them like the first wave of bargain hunters when the stores open at 6 A.M. on December 26. Perhaps it was the usual first-game-after-a-roadtrip syndrome that teams usually have to overcome; or maybe it was adjusting to the step up in class, speed, and size against an experienced Canucks squad that showed why they’re considered to be one of the top contenders in the West.

But Lundqvist kept the Blueshirts in the game, punctuating his sharp first period with a pair of skate saves in the closing seconds of the frame. Things seemed to go from bad to worse when Todd Bertuzzi of all people, got the visitors, who seemed to have a fairly large contingent of fans on hand, on the board early in the second and the Rangers failed miserably on a subsequent power play.

Even after the home team seemed to get their footing after the first of Prucha’s two goals, at times carrying the play and eventually outshooting the Canucks thanks to a 16-6 advantage in the third, they just seemed to be a bit off. It never helps when Jagr has a subpar game. Prucha has not shown much of a penchant as a playmaker, but he put the puck right on the tape of Jagr’s stick in the first, and Jagr, wide open in the slot, shot wide on a chance that he would - and should - normally bury. That was a bad sign, and he finished with only two shots as he was frustrated by the Canucks close shadowing. In the official stats, he was listed as having zero giveaways – if that’s the case, than I don’t understand exactly what constitutes a giveaway in the NHL.

So while there were times at which it seemed as if the Rangers would take control of the game, it never quite transpired. It was telling that immediately after Prucha’s second goal, they had to survive a subsequent Vancouver onslaught. And here I’m going to second reader Throwaway’s call to reunite the Hollweg-Moore-Ortmeyer line. Renney put Hollweg on at this stage with his new linemates Blair Betts and Ville Niemenen, but they were immediately swamped. All night, the line combos seemed just a step off in both zones, and perhaps it’s time to go back to what had been working so well. HMO….Betts and Ward….together again. It’s also time to get Maxim Kondratiev back in the lineup. He could have served the team well against Vancouver’s up-tempo and physical play.

With everything, things could have been different if Prucha’s bid for a hat trick hadn’t glanced off the goal post. And though the Canucks deserve full credit for their effort, the winning goal was a gift and an awful gaffe by Nylander, whose prodigious offensive talents are at times betrayed by his play in his own zone. (He only played a bit over nine minutes last night, and was rarely on the ice in the third period.) If the game was truly the measuring stick that Tom Renney proclaimed it to be, then the Rangers were just a tad short. It’s always disappointing to lose on a late goal at home, but you have to come away from the match with at least a little encouragement that they can skate with good teams playing at the top of their game.

- We don’t like the Islanders if you haven’t noticed, and their loss at home to the Wild was a nice consolation. But unlike the classless morons that attend their games (occasionally), we don’t root for injuries, and besides, the Rangers can crush them fair and square. So here’s hoping that Jason Blake is OK so that the Blueshirts can kick the shit out of him next time they play.


  • At 11:57 AM, Anonymous throwaway said…

    Step up in class... hey, which blog is this anyway!

    I believe the shot where Prucha hit the post was set up by a terrific pass from Jagr, who was along the wall with his back to the play when he made the pass. As you noted, that was pretty much the extent of Jagr's contribution on this night. But it was Nylander's blunder -- which in some sense is not even a blunder since it's just the way he plays -- that left me disgusted more than anything else last night.

    As for the flow of the team overall, and the need to reunite the original combinations, you captured it beautifully in your write-up, and i really don't have anything to add.


  • At 6:05 PM, Blogger alan said…

    It was like going from 35 claimers to non-winners of three other than..


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