Six days ago, we were sitting in the press conference room and John Tortorella was talking about losing Brandon Dubinsky, on top of losing all these other players including Ryan Callahan, and during the game that night the Rangers would also lose Ruslan Fedotenko.
And that was the first game of a stretch of five in seven nights. I wrote that the Rangers just need to keep their heads above water until the all-star break, a six-day vacation for the Rangers, after which Callahan comes back. And I was thinking if they win two of the five, that would be pretty damn good. And then in the third game, they lost Dan Girardi. And Brandon Prust—who had three separate injuries.
Well, what in Holy Hell? Here they are at home tonight in Game 5, against the Florida Panthers, with a chance to go 4-1! With minor-leaguers and third and fourth-liners all over the roster! They have 17 points out of games in which they trailed entering the third period. That number is off the charts.
1) Is there anybody out there who didn’t think the Rangers were at least going to get a point in Washington when they were down 1-0 in the third period?
2) All said about the lineup and all, and the comeback, and the shootout … I thought the Rangers dominated the game, particularly on defense. Imagine if they ever learn to win faceoffs or ever figure out how to have even an average power play?
3) I thought Marc Staal, Michael Sauer, Matt Gilroy and Ryan McDonagh were sensational, and I don’t mean to slight Steve Eminger or Michael Del Zotto … who looked just fine coming back from his Whaling.
4) Rangers=Monster. That was suggested by my friend and yours, Mr. ilb. Even if I disagreed, I’d write that out of respect for him. But I do agree. Completely.
5) How you likin’ those Staal-Ovechkin battles? Unfortunately, Versus showed Staal taking out Ovechkin on that drive to the left side of the net but didn’t bother showing the Ovechkin elbow to the back of Staal’s head or Staal’s retalliation. That was hockey. And Ovechkin still=Monster.
6) Brandon Prust=Monster, too. He’s playing with at least three busted-up body parts, and he was on Ovechkin a lot. Even got him to dive … and the refs caught it.
7) Matter of fact, anybody noticing that the Rangers are getting some calls their way lately?
8) Versus also totally missed the Gaborik goal going off the defender’s stick before it hit Gaborik’s glove. Never mentioned it.
9) How about that ZuccarELLO being cool as ice on the shootout goal, then plugging Avery’s bar on the post-game show?
10) I’ve thought for a stretch of games now that Gaborik and Wolski’s offensive games are looking pretty decent. Maybe those two can carry the load for a while until Dubinsky and Christensen and Fedotenko can get back. That skills-competition goal by Wolski was sick. Actually, all three goals were pretty nifty.
11) How good was Martin Biron? How good was that signing?
12) Liked what I saw from Grachev again. Involved. Or, in Torts-speak, “engaged.”
AP photo, above.
Will be back with the pre-game notes later. Then on to MSG.