At this point, maybe we can throw out that 6-0 game against the Flyers as the aberration. Because it’s 12 games now, with that being the only regulation loss.
Because John Tortorella scratched Wade Redden and Ales Kotalik, demoted Chris Drury to the fourth line and later even benched Marian Gaborik for a few shifts. Because Henrik Lundqvist and Sean Avery called a team meeting and aired Festivus grievances, and Avery later called another, and Lundqvist put the team on his all-star shoulders. Because some guys whose job it is to score goals scored one; some of them even scored more than one. Because some guys finally got it.
1) The Rangers scored more dirty goals yesterday in Boston, and they probably have scored more of those in this 12-game run than they had in the entire season before the benchings and meetings.
2) That was especially so in Boston. Even as the Rangers’ points total climbed, we kept hearing them say “we have to get pucks and bodies to the net.” We heard it almost as often as we heard about that smoker lady’s amputations. But until yesterday, we really didn’t see it to an acceptable degree. Really, it’s not that hard. The Islanders do it. Carolina does it. Why did it take this long for the Rangers to do it? That’s rehtorical.
3) The forecheck. All the TV guys were gaga (and I don’t mean Lady) over the forecheck yesterday. It was probably their best of the season, and probably why those dirty goals and chances materialized. It was this simple: Boston is a good neutral zone team, so the Rangers had to dump the puck and then go get it with two forwards, sometimes three. That’s the way they want to play. But it took an opponent like Boston to get them to do it. Why? Rhetorical again. But suffice it to say that Boston will be a good prep for Tuesday’s game against the Devils — right now the best team in the NHL.
4) Del Zotto. Not anything more to add to that.
5) Brashear. OK, his fight was a joke (is he still hurt?) and he’s been pretty useless. But Saturday was one of the best games we’ve seen from the Rangers’ fourth line. Part of that is tied in to the above points about forechecking and going to the net. They did it extremely well. Part of it is that Tortorella, in this tough piece of the schedule, needs to play more players, and he could do so with the lead. Full marks to those guys and to the coach.
6) Those ads for the nationwide pizza chains during games … are they really hitting their target audience? Don’t they realize that here in New York we have pizza joints? Would you or I really go to one of these chains before we’d go for a slice of sicilian on the local corner? Not me.
Gotta go. See youse all later.