Take the win, run to the airport. Because for two periods, it was men vs. boys. Not domination, but did the Pittsburgh goalie make a single important save until several minutes into the third?
But these boys don’t care if they’re playing men. They don’t care if they’re down. They don’t care if nothing’s happening. They don’t stop playing, even when one of their glue guys goes down long-term, even when it’s uphill to win a faceoff or to get a single scoring chance. They just don’t.
1) So some of the credit, a lot of the credit—heck, most of the credit—has to go to John Tortorella and Mike Sullivan. Seriously, because they are inside the heads of the Rangers, inflating their confidence, making them believe that if they stick to it, good things will happen. In fact, Tortorella used the word “belief” after the game. Believe in “coach of the year” if this keeps up.
2) I told you I thought Alex Frolov was coming on.
3) It was just a matter of time, wasn’t it, that another Ranger went down blocking a shot. You can only block so many before something breaks. It will be a good test overcoming the Ryan Callahan injury for six weeks or so. And I think the natural thing is for the captain, Chris Drury, to slide right up to Callahan’s spot, and his penalty killing duties.
4) What do you think was going on at NHL HQ when that piece of carcillo Cooke was correctly called for the game-turning power play (yes, it was another slew-foot), and then—holy mother of Mario!—a Sid “The Skid” Crosby goal was correctly disallowed because of contact with the goalie? I imagine the two referees will be cleaning toilets tomorrow.
5) Isn’t it just about 25 games premature to be talking about The Skid’s 20-game point streak and The Great One’s 51-game streak in the same sentence? In the same hour? In the same month? And even if The Skid (or anybody) somehow approaches that record, or breaks it, please keep in mind: TGO had 61 goals and 92 assists for 153 points during his little run. Did you hear what I just said? 61-92-153 in 51 games. And TGO would go on to put up 205 points, which was only his fourth best season total. Fourth best. And that’s why you embarrass yourself by comparing anybody to Gretzky in any way.
6) The Versus guys on Wednesday “guaranteed” that The Skid would shave his moustache because the Pens’ winning streak ended, even though is point streak went on, because “he’s all about team.” Uh. The moustache lives. You connect the dots.
7) Staal and Girardi have had some kind of week against Nash, Ovechkin and The Skid. They have both come a long way this season. A long way. Still, let’s not anoint them the best shutdown pair in the league, OK? Not when there are shutdown guys like Pronger and Chara and even Orpik (who blanketed Gaborik) still around.
8) The captain and the goalkeeper were pretty darn good in this game.
9) Nobody mentioned it, but things started to change after the Avery-Asham fight. Cause and effect?
10) Boyle and Prust. Not quite Mantle and Maris, Lemieux and Jagr or Crosby and Malkin. But, geez, how good are these two together? And who in holy hell could have seen this coming? Seriously.
11) Erik Christensen has a job because, with all his inconsistencies, he has the ability to fire that shot. It went off a stick and it was against the backup goalie, but not a lot of guys have that kind of hand skills and shot. And the coach likes him a lot.
12) Wonder if this and the 7-0 Washington game Sunday will be featured in that HBO reality show on the Penguins and Capitals.
13) As Avery said on at least one occasion last year, this will mean nothing if the Road Warrior Rangers can’t follow it up (tonight vs. the Yotes at home).