And then there were 12.
Your heroes sure came up big in the Shark Tank last night, or should I say this morning? Perfect? Not nearly. Better than Anaheim? Only about 100 times better. Big, huge skills competition win. That Bettman Bonus Point could come in handy.
1) The Rangers have now beaten Vancouver, San Jose, the Flyers (although only once), Pittsburgh, Boston and they’ve hammered Washington. So the only one of the top seven teams in the NHL they haven’t beaten is Detroit. They’ve also beaten the defending Stanley Cup champs. Pretty impressive collection of belt notches. Just sayin.
2) You’d have to try to be that bad on faceoffs (19-of-52). Seriously. Do the Rangers’ forwards know that you’re allowed to pull the puck back to, you know, your guys? I still think that particular skill is part method, part concentration. And it should never be that bad.
3) Henrik Lundqvist was sure good, and man is he a weapon in the skills competition. And I liked the way the Rangers protected him, because they were sure trying to tip him over.
4) Although it would be a good idea to try to do something before those guys get in his grill, instead of after. Because that big fourth-line goon Eager was sure ignored by the shutdown pair on the tying goal, which probably went off his body.
5) Michael Sauer. Forget the goal. Go to the 2-on-1 he defended when Ryan McMonster blew a tire. He took away the man without the puck, forcing the shot. And Lundqvist ought to be able to stop the shooter most of the time, as opposed to having no chance if that pass gets across (as it usually does).
6) Erik Christensen. It turned out to be a pretty good move by John Tortorella to get him back into the lineup, and I’m not sure why, but often he seems to get Marian Gaborik going, as he was last night. Christensen committed some sins, for sure, but he got the goal. That said, I’d like to see Sean Avery back in uniform somehow—and I have no idea how—against the Islanders Tuesday.
7) Antti Niemi. Wasn’t that the old lady in the Wizard of Oz?
8) How about a hand for the officials, led by the always inept Bill McCreary? I am not even talking about all the sticks to the face that were missed. I’m talking about the sequence where Matt Gilroy was tripped going around the back of the net, then thanks to the that no-call gift, Gilroy had to scramble back, and was called for that weak slash—a tap, if that. Now I know where those refs from the Rutgers-St. John’s Big East game went.
9) Prust and Boyle were, well, Prust and Boyle again. And the Rangers, once again, thrived in a game that got a bit nasty.
10) I’m watching that Monday Allman Brothers concert they were promo-ing on MSG during the game.
11) The Sharks are loaded, aren’t they? Man, the West is good.
12) Big, big, big skills competiton goal by Wolski there. Bigger than the one by Dubinsky.
AP photo, above.
Hope to start tabulating the contest results in the morning, after I over-sleep two hours to compensate for the lost hour with the clock-change. So maybe it’ll be in the afternoon.