There was no sense of panic from the Rangers after their blown two-goal lead in Toronto on Saturday night, and really if there was, you would have to wonder if they were cut out for this line of work. But what also doesn’t hurt is that many of the same players were part of last season’s utter collapse in Montreal, when they had a 5-0 lead midway through the second, went on to lose 6-5, and yet still rattled off wins in seven of their next eight.
(The lesson learned is that you should never get comfortable against an Original Six Canadian franchise in their own building, among other things).
“You turn the page as quickly as you can,” said Tom Renney, who also added, “It bothered them a lot, and it should. That was a meltdown. But we know why it happened and that it was preventable.”
So in other words, I don’t think the Rangers will be carrying any scar tissue into tomorrow night against the Islanders. If anything, I suspect it will help bring them back to earth.
<li>I mentioned Larry Brooks’ plea to Renney “to get Scott Gomez new linemates”:http://www.nypost.com/seven/11032008/sports/rangers/memo_to_renney__stop_wasting_gomez_136540.htm, which was titled, “Memo to Renney: Stop Wasting Gomez”. Proving that he does peruse the clips about the team (even this blog, but sorry, not the comments as far as I know), Renney greeted Brooks this morning with a smile. “Got the memo,” he said. “It was a little long, though.”
Either the coach took the advice to heart orÂ he was thinking the same thing, because today he had Gomez skating with Ryan Callahan and Markus Naslund, while Chris Drury was between Petr Prucha and Nigel Dawes (the other two lines remained the same).
I spent some time talking to Dawes about his slow start to the season, in which he has a mere goal and an assist in 11 games. The winger admitted to not being thrilled (I suppose you should be worried if he was), but said he wasn’t getting frustrated.
“With the way things are going, you can’t get frustrated, because that’s when you start squeezing the stick even more,” Dawes said. “I’ve been scoring goals my whole career, so it’s going to come.”
When Renney asked to assess Dawes’ play, the coach noted that the winger has been getting an encouraging number of chances in every game and just not finishing, which is a better sign than getting no chances at all (of course, one would think he’d get chances playing with the team’s top playmaker). And when I asked Renney if Dawes coming out of the lineup was an option, he said, “Not yet. We’ll see later on.”
Not exactly a ringing endorsement…
<li>A couple of Hartford updates: Lauri Korpikoski has fared reasonably well in his first two games back with the Wolf Pack, with assists in each of his first two games. But the player has some conditioning work to make up after sitting out as many games as he did with the Rangers. The worse news is on Dane Byers, the rugged winger who figured to be one of the Rangers’ top call-ups this season: he blew out his knee, and is expected to miss a significant chunk of time, if not the season.
Update, 2:39 p.m.: The NHL has named Henrik Lundqvist its second star for the month of October, which my guess is better than earning the same recognition for the month of August. Here’s the Lundqvist part of the release (noted Sidney Crosby-hater Alexander Semin was the first star. Shea Weber of Nashville was third):
SECOND STAR — HENRIK LUNDQVIST, G, NEW YORK RANGERS
Lundqvist led all NHL goaltenders in victories and backstopped the Rangers to the top of the Eastern Conference by posting an 8-2-1 record with a 1.99 goals-against average and .928 save percentage. Lundqvist started 11 of the Rangers’ 13 games in October and allowed two goals or fewer nine times, including a pair of 2-1 victories over the Tampa Bay Lightning at the NHL Premiere series in Prague, Czech Republic Oct. 4-5. He made 30 saves in a 4-2 victory over Chicago in the Rangers’ North American opener Oct. 10, posted a season-high 40 saves in a 5-4 loss at Detroit Oct. 18 and stopped 27 shots and all three shootout attempts in a 3-2 victory over Pittsburgh Oct. 25.