The Rangers Game Log

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

It's A Category Six

- Bill Parcells always talks about his players having to “make a play,” an exhortation for one player to take matters into his own hands, and make the big play needed to get his team over the hump. If the Rangers had made just one play, out of the many chances they had, perhaps they wouldn’t have been blown away by the Hurricanes for their sixth straight without a win. It could have been a power play goal five minutes in after the team came out strong against a Canes team that looked ready for the taking; man, they needed a goal there to affirm their strong start and assert control. Or perhaps a spectacular (or even just a great) save by Kevin Weekes. I’ve pretty much deferred to the decisions of Tom Renney this season, but it seems that he really screwed up on his goalie selection for the last two games. When you play a team that’s lost just five times at home all year, you likely need the kind of amazing goaltending that only Lundqvist is able to provide; and a 5-3 loss in a game in which they outshot the Canes 44-29 is tough to swallow.

But the two most glaring and obvious opportunities took place in the second period. Marcel Hossa, of whom Renney inexplicably told the Post that he inserted in the lineup "to add more scoring" outraced two Canes for a shorthanded breakaway. Trailing 2-1 at the time, you just gotta make that play! But Hossa didn’t even get a shot on goal, and shortly thereafter it was 3-1; that was clearly the turning point of the game. When Martin Straka had his chance to cut the lead on his penalty shot he overdeked and didn’t get a shot off either. You gotta make that play!

- Blair Betts made a horrible, inexcusable gaffe early in the second, when, with a clear chance to move the puck out of the zone, he attempted a blind pass at his own blue line, allowing the Canes to keep the puck in and eventually score a floater for a 2-1 lead that negated any momentum from Nylander’s first goal that tied the game late in the first. Betts finished at –2 on the night

- Sanders Ozolinsh has yet to add much to the power play, though he’s obviously someone that teams have to keep an eye on, which will hopefully loosen things up a bit for Jagr and his mates down low. Ozolinsh gave the puck away with a minute to go and the net empty (perhaps a bit too early), leading to an empty netter that denied the Blueshirts a shot at any last minute heroics.

- Hossa seems to bring additional energy when he’s put back into the lineup after being scratched; perhaps Renney was recalling his two goal performance against the Blue Jackets after missing several games. In thoroughbred parlance, he goes well off a layoff, and he had six shots on goal; but he's a mid-level claimer at best. And that breakaway, man… just gotta bury that.

- I’m getting more and more concerned about the team’s ability to stay in one piece, as they once again took a physical pounding. Petr Prucha seems to be getting even smaller as the games get tougher; and seems an easy target. He left the ice hunched over at one point after getting slammed. Roszival was blasted into the boards twice. With Hollweg out of the lineup, and Kasparaitis not having registered a single hit in the past two games (?), there was little to offer in response. Perhaps Kaspar's toe is bothering him? He did have five hits in Montreal on Saturday.

- As they did with Montreal, the Blueshirts finished the season series with a 1-3 record against the Canes…..two possible playoff opponents that would have a lot of confidence against us going in.

- Still, the boys didn’t quit, and another inch on the puck that rolled on the goal line, and perhaps they could have gotten a point. Despite the sometimes sloppy defensive play, you could really boil the game down to their being outgoaltended. A 4-0 homestand would make us forget all of this, and all four games, against Washington, Toronto, Boston, and Philly, are eminently winnable. Ironically, the only team they’ll be seeing that they haven’t played well against is the Caps, whom they lead in the standings by 31 points. I’d like to see Hollweg-Moore-Ortmeyer out there tomorrow night to get things off to a rousing start.

- The Rangers are 4-4-2 in their last ten games. Now, that doesn’t seem too bad, does it?


  • At 9:54 AM, Anonymous Richard B. said…

    Agreed they could have won the game with Henryk.


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