I don’t know what you guys thought about the game, but I sure thought it was a fun game to watch, even if it took the Garden crowd 50 minutes to get into it. The second and third periods were pretty wild.
1) Not to be one of those Negative Nancys, but you wonder when this team will actually lose a few in a row. They haven’t deserved to have a losing streak, but, my gosh, every team since the 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens (who went 60-8-12) has had a losing streak at some point, right? These Rangers haven’t lost more than two in a row in regulation all year, and haven’t gone more than two without a win since starting the season 0-1-2. It’s got to happen. And of course, I have no doubt how most of you will react when it does.
2) That said, and we’ve discussed this a whole bunch of times, it’s pretty remarkable how the Rangers bounce back after losses … and how they play the same way, no matter what happened the day before, the week before, or the minute before.
4) The New York Football Giants’ offensive line arrived late, left the game for the end of the first period and the start of the second, then stayed through the end. Matter of fact, I saw three security guys escorting them toward the Rangers locker room later on. Yeah, they needed three security guys.
5) The G-Men must have been shocked at how quiet Madison Square Garden can be for a hockey game.
6) That Stamkos guy is going to be pretty good. Some combo. Size, great speed, great hands, deadly shot. Quite a goal he scored in the first.
7) I don’t say anything definitive about the NHL’s Department of Alleged Player Safety anymore — not after it has given stamped approval of slew-foots, leaving the bench to join altercations, attempts to maim from behind, hair-pulling and stitch-gouging. But if there was a textbook example of targeting a player’s head, Dominic Moore sure did that to Ruslan Fedotenko after Fedotenko clobbered him cleanly, maybe borderline cleanly, into the wall moments earlier. Let’s see what surprises Brendan Shanahan has in store on this one, or how he jumps through hoops to find a reason to not suspend Moore.
8) And, by the way, Moore said after the game: “To be honest, I was coming into the slot and trying to make myself available for a shot. Their guy, and I didn’t know who it was until after, tried to come over and take me away. I was just trying to compete for body position and I guess he wasn’t ready for that.” Uh, huh. Listen to the start of the Boyle interview a couple of threads down. He said Moore was yapping about the hit that Fedotenko laid on him before the shoulder to the head shot.
9) It was a little funny to hear John Tortorella say that Brad Richards was not on the fourth line, even though he was playing with Mike Rupp and Fedotenko. And I thought Richards made some strides late in the Devils game, and was OK in this one. Give the guy some props, though, for his seven game-winners, and a lot of them — Phoenix, Winter Classic, last night — have been pretty darn dramatic. Alternate Captain Clutch?
10) To borrow a line from some of our esteemed Boneheads: What in holy hell was last night, Dec. 21, 2012 on the Mayan Calendar? Richards scored. The Rangers power play scored. And, my God, Scott Gomez scored! I didn’t take the subway home because I feared birds flying out of the center of the earth.
11) I keep noticing the way the guys with the shovels fly onto the ice for every TV timeout, and you know what? One of these days there’s going to be an altercation at that moment , and it’s going to be really ugly.
12) That’s two or three (or more) really good games in a row for Brandon Prust. Brian Boyle and Artem Anisimov, too.
My Three Rangers Stars:
1) Brad Richards.
2) Ryan Callahan.
3) Brandon Prust.
AP photos, above.