Good Easter morning, all you Detroit Red Wings fans. You’ll all be waving the red-and-white today, right, when your Wings play the Flyers on national network television. It helps that this is a fairly important game for Detroit, which can still move up to fifth, and has an outside shot at fourth in the Bestern Conference.
For a while there, it looked like it might be a Johnny Maestro night (the worst that could happen) — that Boston and Montreal would both win and the Rangers would lose (down 1-0). But that changed with a strong third period, after two very good but scoreless periods.
Your Rangers now have gotten 11 of 12 points the last six games, and are 4-0-1 on this season-altering six-game trip.
1) Why do you think the coach and his assistants needed 70-something games to get players to put pucks at the net and drive to the net? Probably, the obvious reason is that the Rangers didn’t have the puck or a decent forecheck for most of the season. But this is how even mediocre teams win hockey games.
2) Yeah, it was a win over a bad team not going anywhere, and with some key players banged up. But that was as solid and complete a victory as the Rangers have had this season, and considering what was at stake, it was enormous.
3) I know some here, for some reason, will disagree. But Marc Staal is again showing that he’s a legit first-pair D-man (I’ll probably eat those words next year at some point), and that his future ceiling is pretty high. Maybe Joe Micheletti got a bit too excited last night, though, when he said Staal and Girardi might be the best shutdown pair in the league. Easy, there, Joe. Easy. But they’ve been good lately. Actually, Staal has been great, Rozsival and Girardi have been very good, and even Redden hasn’t been bad.
4) The big-money guys scored the last two goals, but up to that point, the big contributions the Rangers got — outside of a spectacular Lundqvist game — came from guys making under $1M: Staal ($765,000), Prust ($475,000), Shelley ($725,000), Voros ($900,000) and Del Zotto ($875,000).
5) PS, a while back I said that Shelley hadn’t shown that he’s much better than Brashear. Well, he sure has lately. Much better than Brashear. Not even close.
Remember this: It’s unlikely the Rangers can tie Philly for eighth and get in, because the Flyers have two more victories, which is tiebreaker No. 1.
Here’s what the Least looks like this morning:
6. Canadiens 3 GR, 39 W, 86 Pts.
7. Bruins 4 GR, 36 W, 84 Pts.
8. Flyers 4 GR, 38 W, 82 Pts.
9. Rangers 4 GR, 36 W, 82 Pts.
10. Thrashers 3 GR, 34 W, 81 Pts.
New (old) poll down the right side.
AFTERNOON UPDATE, 1:28 P.M.: Here’s the release on Weise and Locke:
NEW YORK RANGERS TRANSACTION UPDATE
New York, April 4, 2010 – New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that forward Dale Weise has been recalled from the Hartford Wolf Pack of the American Hockey League (AHL), and forward Corey Locke has been assigned to Hartford.
Weise, 21, is currently riding an AHL career-high seven-game point streak dating back to March 21 vs. Providence, registering nine points (six goals and three assists) over the span, including a goal in each of the last four games. He has recorded 28 goals and 21 assists for 49 points, along with 114 penalty minutes and a plus-nine rating in 73 contests with Hartford (AHL) this season. Weise currently ranks second on the team in points, goals and shots (177), third in plus/minus rating, tied for fourth in power play goals (four), fifth in penalty minutes and ranks seventh in assists. He is also tied for the AHL lead with five shorthanded goals and fourth with seven game winning goals, while his 28 goals rank 13th in the league. In his second professional season with Hartford, Weise has established AHL career-highs in all major offensive categories, including goals, assists, points, plus/minus rating, shots, power play goals, shorthanded goals and game winning goals. He has recorded 10 multi-point performances, also a career-high, and has posted four multi-goal games. Last season, Weise led all Wolf Pack rookies in goals (11), and finished second on the team among first-year players in assists (12) and points (23). He posted a career-high four points (two goals and two assists), his first career multi-point performance, on March 21, 2009 at Springfield. In the playoffs, Weise tied for the team lead with three goals, and tied for second on the Wolf Pack with four points in six post-season contests.
The Winnipeg, Manitoba native was originally selected by the Rangers in the fourth round, 111th overall, in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.
Locke, 25, skated in three contests with the Rangers following his recall on Monday. He returns to Hartford where he has tallied 29 goals and 51 assists for 80 points in 73 AHL contests this season, and was recently named to the AHL Second All-Star Team.