Game 12 – Rangers 5 at Montreal 2
Last Year – 0-0-0, 0 pts.
Seen: On tape; out to dinner. Penance for the Head Chef coming to the Breeders’ Cup.
Points out of 8th: Lead Devils by three for first.
Islanders: Lose 6-4 at home, as scoreboard shows Blueshirts ahead. You gotta love that.
- Big Plays – Forget about the goaltending controversy – Henryk Lundqvist has put Tom Renney into a situation in which he has little choice but to ride his hot streak as long as it goes. No way Weekes starts at home for the time being; imagine the crowd reaction Monday night if he started and gave up an early softie. While Lundqvist made a few saves in the ‘dazzling’ category, he seems to position himself in anticipation so well that he makes many of them look routine. Late in the first, with the Blueshirts up 3-0 and the Habs on a power play, Kasparaitus made a terrible clearing attempt that was intercepted and sent to Saku Koivu in the slot. He faked a shot and made a nifty move to get off a backhand shot but Lundqvist was just waiting for it, like “get that crap outta here.”
His most spectacular and crucial saves of the game came shortly after the Canadiens cut the lead to 3-2, with the home team buzzing and the crowd howling. On a play virtually identical to Montreal's second goal, Pierre Dagenais was left all alone at the top of the slot; he one-timed a perfect feed that Lundqvist came out to stop; the rebound came right back out to Dagenais and this time Lundqvist stuck out his right skate and kicked it to the boards. When the puck was slid back towards the net, Lundqvist was there waiting.
The saves occured four minutes before the Blueshirts regained control on one of the nicest goals of the year. Ortmeyer, moved up to the second line for defensive purposes (Fedor Fedorov had a much better effort, showing strength and registering four hits), tipped the puck in and hustled around the defenseman to be the first to the puck behind the net. He gave it to Rucinsky, who did a great job eluding a defender to feed to Ortmeyer along the boards. Ortmeyer, almost doing a Jagr imitation, one-timed a picture perfect pass right to Rucchin, who had established position in front of the net and was able to swipe it in on the backhand.
Ortmeyer and Dominic Moore continue to impress beyond our expectations. Moore once again showed a deft pair of hand with his quick shot off a rush to the net for his first goal; and on his second, it was like ‘ready, aim, fire’ as he picked a spot up high and was bulls-eye for the fifth goal that sealed the game for the spunky visitors.
- Al Montoya stopped 51 out of 53 shots to lead the Wolfpack to victory Saturday night; and Petr Prucha, who perhaps will be recalled to replace Rucinsky, who was unfortunately injured Saturday on a hit well after he’d passed the puck that wasn’t called as a penalty, had a goal and an assist. Jarkko Immonen continues to excel with four goals, three assists, and a team leading plus five after eight games. Hugh Jessiman has no points and a minus two rating; oh man.