The Rangers Game Log

Monday, April 24, 2006

Game One, By The Penalties

1) D. Moore, 03:28 - Holding - This was by far the most outrageous of the calls. Cam Jannsen took a run at Moore long after the latter had relinquished the puck and seemed to lead with his elbow. This was deemed to be a legal play, but Moore defending himself but pushing his attacker off was not. It was a ludicrous and damaging call, as it led to Elias’ first goal. This was also an early indication that we weren’t going to win on goaltending. Nice shot, but nothing we haven’t seen Lundqvist swat away; he looked late with his glove hand.

2) J. Ward, 06:39 – Elbowing The new combination of Ryan Hollweg being moved up to the Betts-Ward line had produced a good forechecking stint in the Devils zone and had pressured the puck in deep when Ward led with his elbow up high in hitting Gomez somewhat clumsily along the center-ice boards. Worse, Ward was injured on the play, and left the arena on crutches.

3) J. ORTMEYER, 17:56 – Interference – Overlooked in the Rangers’ penalty blitz is the failed power play attempts, including the two following the one on which Prucha scored the only goal (and on which they should have been awarded another power play when Gionta pulled down Ozolinsh). The second power play was followed by an extremely strong shift by Jagr-Hollweg-Betts. But shortly thereafter, Ortmeyer took down Langenbrunner on what looked like could have been a dangerous leg on leg hit.

4) S. OZOLINSH, 19:21 – Tripping – Just a stick chop on Zach Parise along the boards. Though you felt OK after they killed off the resulting 5-3 and got out of the period tied at one, the Rangers looked like the better team before penalties #3 and 4 disrupted their flow.

5) Second period, NYR, M. ROZSIVAL, 01:49 – Boarding – This was just a bad play. You can argue that the player turned his back, but the check was high and he followed through with his gloves, smashing his face into the glass. He was lucky it wasn’t a double minor or worse. Instead of building on their penalty kills, three-for-three since the goal, they were shorhanded again.

6) B. BETTS, 06:50 – Hooking – This was the killer of them all. A good kill on #5 turned into a power play, and though they didn’t score (again), they followed it with yet another good five-on-five; it’s early game sequences like these that make us think that we have a shot. Jagr- Nylander-Sykora, then Rucchin came on; this was perhaps the strongest point of the game for the visitors. After a TV timeout, Hollweg went to the net and Brodeur froze the puck. Then off the faceoff, Betts was called for hooking behind the Devils net; I dunno, perhaps he had his stick up into the player’s chest. In any event , you cannot take that penalty in the offensive zone! Not only did it stop the momemtum, the Devils scored on the criss-cross pass that Lundqvist, so quick on his lateral movement during the season, could only watch. An absolute killer.

7) NYR, M. MALIK, 13:24 – Roughing – Again, the Rangers were more than holding their own at full strength when Malik took a needless roughing call on a high forearm at center ice. What the hell!?! And then when the Rangers drew an even-it-up penalty on a rush that resulted in a great chance in front for Moore, it was 8) T. POTI, 15:09 - Hi stick, taking a careless penalty, leading to the killer 3rd Devils goal, which followed Dominic Moore’s near miss off the post. This led to what was effectively a power play goal, on a Ken Klee shot that fluttered in after being deflected.

After what I’m sure must have been an emphasis on not taking penalties during the second intermission, #9) NYR, J. JAGR, 00:32 – Hooking, #10) NYR, M. HOSSA, 04:52 - Cross check, and #11) NYR, M. MALIK, 07:06 – Elbowing, took place, incredibly, in short succession starting the 3rd period. Jagr’s was unbelievable; as JD said, he hooked him for “about 1/18th of a second,” (as JD struggled to maintain his objectivity). It took the Devils 20 seconds to cash in on another shot that Lundqvist didn’t see. Hossa’s “cross-check” was called by the trailing official; Malik’s elbowing was blatant and was followed by the 5th goal.

#12) and #13) R. HOLLWEG, 14:11 – Roughing, and R. HOLLWEG, 14:11 – Instigator were the only productive penalties of the game, as Hollweg retaliated for a vicious run on Kasparaitis by Weimer by starting a fight with Jannsen, who was not penalized for grabbing Hollweg’s hair. Expect to see these two go at it again.

- So while it’s true that the Rangers played very well at full strength, it’s not as simple as just not taking penalties, for the following reasons:

- They’ve taken bad penalties all year, and were obviously cautioned during the intermissions. So why should they be able to change their ways at this time?

- The power play continues to struggle, and was nearly as ineffective as the PK, though that fact is being overlooked. After Prucha’s goal, they failed to capitalize on six and a half straight attempts, all at key points of the game with the Rangers still within one or two goals.

- Lundqvist doesn’t look like the same goalie, and was outclassed by Brodeur, who, yes, in my opinion, did consciously steer the rebounds away adroitly. I, for one, would not be shocked if Renney went to Weekes. In fact, the AP reported that Renney was surprisingly noncommittal when asked if Lundqvist or backup Kevin Weekes would play.

- And of course, the big question which, if answered negatively, makes this whole discussion moot. I don’t know if Jagr was trying to emulate Mark Messier’s infamous stick to the face of Doug Gilmour which legend says turned the 1997 series around, but his flailing at Scott Gomez and resulting injury resulted from nothing but frustration, which we’ve seen him display before, and to the detriment of his teammates. He did not look well exiting the arena, as those around him were seen staring down at his arm, and didn’t practice on Sunday. Renney said "He's uncomfortable, but it doesn't appear to be too bad." We’ll see, but you gotta believe he'll be out there; how effective we don't know. Jason Ward’s injury seems to be worse, and he’s already been missed on the PK.

The real tragedy of the fiasco was that, with Colin White out of the game, the Blueshirts had an opportunity to do some real damage five-on-five. I’m usually a pretty optimistic guy, but I really don’t know if the Rangers can stop this downward spiral, especially with the power play sputtering and Lundqvist not coming up large. But they’ll have to stay out of the penalty box to avoid being embarrassed.


  • At 7:19 PM, Anonymous throwaway said…

    I had a message on here this morning that got deleted. Basically, I had predicted a stronger effort by NY, but that they'd probably get a few bad breaks and lose 4-1.

    Well, maybe that wasn't exactly what I had written. But nevertheless, I was encouraged in some ways tonight, and I'm looking forward to Wednesday night.

  • At 7:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Best regards from NY! »


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