Let me just throw this out there. You have 17 games, going on 16, left, playing at home against a team that’s way out of your playoff picture. In other words, if they get an extra point out of the game, it doesn’t affect you. But you really need two.
Now you’re heading into overtime, having just tied the game very late.
So do you really want to start your shot-blockers and penalty killers to begin 4-on-4 OT? What happened to Safe is Death? Why not start your top goal scorer, Marian Gaborik, instead of Chris Drury and Ryan Callahan? Or at least start Brandon Dubinsky (who scored the late goal) with Callahan?
Or how about this? Again, you have one point, you need the other one, and it if the opponent gets the additional point, it doesn’t affect you. Why not use three forwards and one defenseman in overtime? Especially if most of your defensemen are going to be spectators as they were last night? Why not go for it? Why not roll the dice and try to win the game and the extra point, instead of playing it safe and risking leaving one on the table?
So you know what happened. Buffalo 2, Rangers 1, with, by coincidence, Drury and Callahan on the ice. Another point, in a game pretty well played, but another point that got away, too.
1) Did you notice the similarities on both Buffalo goals? A rookie defenseman (Matt Gilroy on the first, Michael Del Zotto on the second) gets taken behind the net by a Buffalo forward. The other defenseman just fouls up completely. And the backchecking forward tries a weak stick check on the guy who scores the goal.
On the first, Michal Rozsival did the right thing by staying in front of the net, then didn’t pick up anybody. Still, it was Artem Anisimov who needed to make the play on the goal scorer, and reached with his stick instead of taking the man.
On the second, Knees Girardi went to the back of the net. Why? What are you going to do there? What are you preventing from back there? So this clown Kaleta comes out, and Drury tries to stick check him (as Callahan circles away from the play), loses his stick and allowed Kaleta to score the winning goal with Girardi having the best view in the house, directly behind the net.
2) Girardi has really been disappointing this season. Early in the game, after an Avery giveaway and an immediate poor checking attempt by Avery near the blue line, Buffalo had a 2-on-1. Girardi back, did his usual knees-to-the-ice slide across, and as usual didn’t prevent the pass, and Lundqvist had to make a terrific stop.
3) Despite all that’s happened in three straight losses, the Rangers got two points, and they have eight of the last possible 12—a pace that might get them into the playoffs. And, to repeat, I thought they’d played two pretty decent games the last two, given their lack of talent.
4) Jody Shelley hasn’t fought yet, and his time here will eventually be judged by what he does when he meets Daniel Carcillo and Co., and how he handles other team’s tough guys. But purely as a player, so far he has shown that he is no better than Donald Brashear. In fact he may be worse. So far.
5) So that commercial they keep showing on MSG, just to understand. If your father owns a Mercedes, then you have to go to school even when it’s closed?
6) How about that MSG poll for best U.S. born goalie. Mike Richter ran away with it, and that’s not surprising, and Ryan Miller was second. But Tom Barrasso got something like three percent. Barrasso might end up in the Hall of Fame.
7) Only a hundred or so showed up for the Fire Sather Rally? That’s embarrassing. This thing was in the works for months. It’s a Sunday, the weather’s great, and just a few feet away there’s a game which 18,000 or so will attend. And that’s the turnout? Why bother?