1) Just because it tends to get so hysterical (and I don’t mean funny, though it can be that, too) here, I wondered in the comments last night, at 1-1, were you willing to say this was a good effort or if it sucked from head to toe, had the Rangers lost the breakaway contest. I mean, based on that silly competition after the game was over, would you have judged the Rangers’ performance any differently had the breakaway contest gone the other way? Be honest. …
2) … Because I didn’t think it was as good as the Monday win over Jumbo Shrimp Joe and the Softie Sharks. But it was probably still the second best performance of the season … and by the way, now three of a possibe four from the Mighties, two from the Canuckleheads, two from the Jumbo Shrimp Soft Sharks. Kinda like last year when the Rangers found a way to win so many against the best teams in the league.
3) How about that play by Ryan McDonagh in the OT, when he carried deep and Brandon Dubinsky couldn’t handle his drop pass, and McMonster stepped on the gas and used those great wheels to get back and help break up the Mighties’ rush? I don’t care if he missed the net from five feet out. This kid shows you something every night.
4) And speaking of that, I’m glad somebody asked, and Tortorella talked about the top four D and how important they are with the No. 1 out indefinitely. And when Dan (Block Ness) Girardi took one off the eyebrow, did you just for a minute or two, wonder what happens if he ever goes down for more than a couple of shifts? And can you believe, one year and 11 games later, that that’s how you/we/they regard Girardi? Nobody was surprised he came back as quickly as he did from that messy cut. And you had to be happy for Jeff Woywitka getting that goal. Seems like a guy teammates like.
5) Marian Gaborik scores in the shootout despite the 2-for-19 career record that Tortorella recited and certainly knew before choosing him for the breakaway contest after the game ended. Good for Gaborik. He deserved the chance to be a hero. It did make me wonder a little what might have happened if he had the chance to win the shootout to put the Rangers in the playoffs in Philly two springs ago, instead of Olli Jokinen. Not that Gaborik deserved that chance that day.
6) I’m also thinking that when Gaborik is going like this—and he was terrific again last night—maybe he doesn’t need a playmaking center as much as he needs another finisher on his line. Because the D backs off him, and he creates a lot of rebound chances, and he’s also a very good passer. Just sayin’.
7) I thought Brad Richards made a couple of lousy plays … but I’m not blaming him for the turnover in traffic in the slot that led to the Mighties’ goal.
8) Teemu Selanne sure made it look easy with his breakaway contest goal after the game ended. Such smooth, quick hands.
9) Erik Christensen … once again, keeps his spot because these single Bettman Bonus Points are so important when they add them all up in April.
10) The Rangers didn’t announce the Anton Stralman signing (reported at one year, $900G), so something might be up. If you’re asking what’s up, or if you’re asking where he fits on the organizational depth chart, or anything else about him, I have two words for you: No idea.
11) Henrik Lundqvist literally exhaled when he talked about getting that first shootout win because, let’s face it, he’s more important than Christensen or anybody else in the breakaway contest. Only he’s also more important than anybody else in the first 60, and the 4-on-4 sudden death. How good was Jonas Hiller down the other end? My God, was that glove something special? And Can you even imagine having a first line as good as the Mighties, and Teemu Selanne on the second line?
12) That OT was exactly what the NHL had in mind when it decided to go to 4-on-4, with a point already in the bank. Frantic stuff.
13) Andre (Bel Biv) Deveaux sure handled himself pretty well against big moustache-less Ivy Leaguer George Parros, didn’t he? Though I don’t see the sense of that fight at that point in the game. The Rangers just scored, Parros — as smart and decent a man as he may be — is a goon looking to give his team a spark on the road. I think you decline that needless pre-arranged, staged fight.
14) We Want Avery! The chant doesn’t get nearly as loud when the Rangers aren’t losing, does it? And I even heard a few boos every time people tried to get an Avery chant going. I think Avery’s going to be under a lot of pressure to perform right away, and consistently. But I also think he likes that pressure. … and one more thing that I don’t think I’ve ever really said about Avery: He’s a very, very bright guy. He knows the deal. He knows all the deals.
15) Speaking of needless penalties … I thought that for the first time all season the referees called it at a reasonable level, where a tiny touch or tug didn’t result in a power play. That is, until the Michael Del Zotto penalty call. Pansification.
My Three Rangers Stars:
1) Marian Gaborik.
2) Henrik Lundqvist.
3) Ryan McDonagh.
Before I go … I’ve got a busy football weekend coming up. And will have some busy weekends the rest of November. Does anybody want to guest blog/review the Saturday night Montreal-Rangers game? If so, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
AP photo, above.