Is it possible? Can the Rangers miss Michal Rozsival that much?
Maybe it was a bit surprising that the Rangers were so comfortable going up and down the ice with the speedy Canadiens early on, but then again, maybe that got them away from their grinding game a bit. Because, except for Sean Avery’s line, there wasn’t the usual dose of forecheck.
And I must say, I was surprised the way the Canadiens played in their own zone, in the imaginary rectangle in front of the net, getting sticks and skates on passes and shots. Very surprised.
1) There are three reasons to worry just a little bit:
a) The goals are not coming, not from Gaborik, and not very much from anybody, really. We probably expected them to struggle scoring more than they did the first half. Maybe now we don’t expect them to struggle any more. But they are struggling at the moment.
b) The power play is really bad again. It only had two chances—the first was embarrasingly bad, the second ended in eight seconds because Marc Staal was forced to take a penalty.
c) Faceoffs were only 26-22 in favor of Montreal. But the Rangers lose too many. Too many. And for a team that needs possession, that’s not good. And I don’t know if it’s fixable.
2) I don’t blame Brandon (Monster) Dubinsky for being upset with P.K. Slewfoot. I’d be more upset with the officials. I understand that the NHL wants to take away all the little hold/grab/hook garbage. But you can’t call that ticky-tack penalty on Dan Girardi and not call that obvious, blatant, dirty slew foot five feet away from the referee who was looking right at it.
3) Henrik Lundqvist (and his scoring streak) was good again. But … there was the NHL-nightly, obligatory bad-angle goal against a goaltender leaving his post to needlessly go to his knees. Epidemic.
4) Was anybody else surprised when Wojtek Wolski started spitting out those Canadian-accented “aboots” between periods? He did some good things, some very good things, showed some real skill and nose for the net. But I also thought he was slow on a line change on the tying goal.
5) Brian Leetch is just so much better in studio than … well, let’s leave it at that.
6) Ryan McDonagh has looked pretty good after a nervous first NHL game.
7) Last night, and for all of this season, we don’t say or hear enough how solid and dependable a player Ruslan Fedotenko is, and has been, for this team.
8) Remember to bend your knees when you shovel the snow.
AP Photo, above.