This is what happens when you play well for an extended period of a season and people take notice … teams that might not be so good, or not playing so great, find another gear when they play you. It becomes a big game for them. And that really hasn’t happened much since 1997.
And it sure happened last night.
1) The Rangers were out-hit, without a doubt. But the statisticians at that arena that changes names every five minutes had the Rangers for 15 total hits in the game. Pass the bong.
2) Not sure what he does the rest of the time, but against the Rangers, Jason Chimera=Beast. Oh, and Mike Knuble for Rob DiMaio. My God.
4) The Rangers had a decent power play late, but the first couple, and for some in recent games, they’ve regressed to standing around as they did early in the year, when the PP was pathetic.
5) Ryan Callahan. Big as a building.
6) And after one of the most dramatic Callahan blocks, how about Brandon Dubinsky with the hop, skip and jump that led to the tying goal. Tomas Vokoun’s got to stop it, but give Dubinsky credit for creating the chance and hitting the net, at least. Thought he was strong most of the game.
7) John Mitchell looks like he sure doesn’t want to be the guy who comes out if the Rangers, for some ridiculous reason, decide to put Wojtek Wolski back into this lineup.
8) I like Eddie O and Doc, and I like Pierre a lot more than you guys do, but can they please, please shut up once in a while on the analysis and let us know what’s going on on the ice? Don’t try to impress us with how much you know, Pierre, tell us what’s going on at ice level. For God’s sakes.
9) I still cannot believe, on a Rangers team that has had such as terrible concussion history, that has its alternate captain not play a single shift this year, and a top-4 defenseman who suffered a concussion when his helmet popped off, so many guys still wear their chinstraps dangling inches below their chins. And that the training and coaching staffs actually allow it.
10) Dale Hunter=Matt Cooke.
11) Not a chance you can put this game on Martin Biron, though I don’t think he was great.
12) Highlights of “24/7″ episode 3: The audio, with subtitles, of the Peter Laviolette-Steve Ott incident in Dallas; Ott telling Claude Giroux how good he is on faceoffs, and suggesting he go check on NHL.com; Michael Del Zotto’s sweater (WTB?); Laviolette playing psychiatrist and convincing Giroux that he looks great in practice (and perhaps influencing him to return early from a concussion?); Jaromir Jagr telling Giroux it’s tough to score four points at the Garden and adding “I did it.”; Mike Rupp telling Jody Shelley he’s irrelevant; Richards mocking Sestito from the bench; Brian Boyle’s sister (one of 13 kids?) telling him, “I can still take you down.”
13) Oh, and did they have to put that camera and spotlight right on top of my shiny head during the John Tortorella presser after the win over the Flyers?
14) Also, I’m sick of Ilya Bryzgalov and his act.
My Three Rangers Stars:
1) Ryan Callahan.
2) Artem Anisimov.
3) Brandon Dubinsky.
AP photos, above.