Ten to go. If your heroes get 10 of a possible 20 points, that’s 90, and that should be plenty.
Scoreboard watching tonight:
Kansas City-bound Thrashers at Bison Baby Buffaloes.
Boston at Air Canada Leaves.
1) I still think staged fights, or fights for no reason, accomplish little or nothing. But the knucklehead who started the fight with Brandon Prust before the puck dropped sure helped get the Rangers fired up, not to mention the Garden. And didn’t work out too well for Les Habitants. They’re starting to talk about Prust for the Steven McDonald award on MSG … and we’ve been talking about him for a while. I still think it’s going to be tough to unseat Ryan Callahan … and still think there are other legit contenders.Prust would surely be worthy.
2) See what happens when you block a shot standing up, with your shinpads or skates? Artem Anisimov blocks the shot, on his feet, and off he goes. And showed some kind of speed (all night) and hands.
3) Callahan=MiniGraves. Missed a quarter of the season and leads the team in goals.
4) The Rangers love nasty, fierce games like these, and have all season, and that’s why you guys love these Rangers … most of the time. They looked like they did early in the season, when every line that came over the bench did something.
5) On a few occasions, especially in the second half, I’ve mentioned that some of the Rangers were going scrimmage speed, or gliding. But not last night. That extra stride of speed, those few extra mph in the neutral zone, or coming back defensively, or joining a rush, make all the difference. No gliding. And it brings shift after shift after shift of pressure in all three zones.
6) When they play like this—and I’m not concerned about the lag at 5-1 to a speedy team with not as much at stake, going full bore to get back into the game—the Rangers are better than the other teams in the race for sixth, seventh, eighth place, and an absolute threat to anybody in a seven-game series. Not saying they can win more than one series, or even one, but I’m certainly saying there’s not a series they couldn’t win.
7) Brandon Dubinsky made some terrific plays, one on P.K. Slewfoot that started the Girardi goal,and strong play out of the corner set up the reviewed Callahan goal. And the other night, when I was picking apart one bad shift he had, I also forgot to credit him with the great play on the Prust SHG in that game.
8) Ya boy Gaborik is heating up. Ya boy Lundqvist is heating up. And lest we forget, those are the two most important guys down the stretch and in the playoffs. Now the Rangers have to A) make sure Lundqvist is OK and B) take care of all who breathe on him, as Sauer tried to do.
9) Speaking of which, that was some really brave play there by P.K. Slewfoot, to finally drop his gloves then run behind the linesman. Guys who play dirty like that and don’t at least occasionally fight their own battles get a bad rep in the league. And this clown’s just a rookie.
10) And the Rangers did this without Avery?
11) This might have been Ryan McMonster’s best game of the season.
12) Shouldn’t it be harder than it looks for opposing forwards to sneak in behind the shutdown pair and not get hit or tied up, and to deflect pucks unopposed, even on the PP?
13) As I’m typing this at almost midnight Friday, Izzy Mandelbaum is on my TV telling Jerry, “grab your jock, that is, if you need one” and “all aboard the pain train.” And soon he’ll utter the famous “What in Holy Hell?” Yup, and there is is. “Don’t you lie to me, Butterbean. We’re taking it up a notch.” … “Tough it out. This is for real. You gotta want it.”
AP photo, above.