1) I’m going to invoke the name Brian Leetch again. Because Leetch always had a clock in his head, and he knew at the end of periods, end of games, when there wasn’t enough time left for him to have to worry about defensive responsibilities, and he’d just go. Just go to the net, go to the offensive traffic. It’s a simple thing, but not many defensemen do it. There’s no risk when it’s down to the final seconds. And Ryan McDonagh, who just gets better every day, had the clock in his head winding down and went to the net, no risk at all, and won the game. The kid’s got great wheels, got a good head, is big and strong. Too bad they had to give up Scott Gomez to get him.
2) Now that was a nasty game, right from the start. I think it began with a Ryan Callahan hit behind the net—and that’s why Jarome Iginla challenged him early on. Too bad we didn’t get a replay. But I’ve said it before, since last season, when things get a little testy, the Rangers play better.
3) The booing of Jan, er, I mean Tim Erixon was pretty lame, and the 20-year-old sure handled it well. But I can understand how jilted the good cowboys and cowgirls of Calgary must feel. The kid forced his way out of that cowtown, and ended up in NYC. Kind of feeds the inferiority complex. To be fair, try to imagine how you’d feel if Marc Staal, for example, decided he didn’t want to play in New York and forced his way out of here.
4) Brandon Prust=Beast … what a nice return to Calgary, and return to Prust-type hockey … and first time wearing the Broadway Hat; and linemates Brian Boyle and Ruslan Fedotenko are looking like mid-season/last season again. What a deal that was for Prust, even if they had to take Olli Jokinen. Oh, and this idea that Jokinen sees a therapist or a mental coach every day … yeah, and that has resulted in what, exactly?
5) Tough couple of unlucky first-period shifts for the new shutdown pair, the puck hopping over Dan Girardi’s stick on the first goal, and McMonster screening Lundqvist on the second. And talk about quirks of the game: The Rangers best PK of the season came with Girardi in the penalty box.
6) Kris Newbury avenges a hit on Brad Richards. First, that should have been a hit-from-behind penalty on Sarich against Richards. Second, Newbury maybe should have just come in and roughed him up, because the instigator had to be called otherwise. Though I will never complain when a teammate sticks up for a teammate, especially when a role guy protects one of the captains. Somebody should have gotten into Iginla’s face when he challenged Callahan.
7) That penalty on Gaborik? Pansification. Then he gets hooked on a breakaway in the second and nothing? What’s going on with the officiating this year? Do the refs know that Sean Avery isn’t on the team anymore?
8) Gaborik is the 2009-10 model, isn’t he? And the kid Derek Stepan fits really nicely over on the left side.
9) I thought Callahan and Brandon Dubinsky finally got a little bit going late in the third and into the OT, and were good on the PK—which was pretty fabulous all around. But, geez, it hasn’t been a good first five games for either of them.
10) I’m thinking it sure won’t be a difficult decision who comes out when Wojtek Wolski returns. But, the Rangers were less than two seconds away from a post-hockey-game breakaway contest, and maybe Erik Christensen would have gotten a chance to save his job for a little while more.
11) Did Iginla even play the last two periods?
12) Gosh, Henrik Lundqvist is almost as good in the post-game interview as he is during the game.
13) Wait, was that a PPG?
14) Why is MSG Network cutting out of John Tortorella’s post-game press conference at 12:44 a.m. to rush to a replay of Boomer and Cockroach talking about two-day-old Rex Ryan news?
My Three Rangers Stars:
1) Brandon Prust.
2) Ryan McDonagh.
3) Henrik Lundqvist.
AP photos, above.