As you may or may not be aware, I forgot to record this game while I was doing yard work. I did listen to it on the radio, but that’s not good enough to come up with a review, especially since I wasn’t taking notes while listening. Fortunately for us, E3 stepped up on very short notice to volunteer to write a review. I have to say, after reading it, that Kenny and Dave painted a very different picture of this game. In any event, without further ado, here is E3’s review:
When we last left our heroes, they were heading off the ice, shoulders slumped, embarrassed after getting mauled on the scoreboard by bitter rivals the Penguins. We watched as Sid Crosby, a featherweight if there ever was one, tossed our Captain to the ice like a rag doll. Worse, McD’s teammates also watched as their Captain was shoved to the ground like a rag doll. The Rangers watched and did nothing. Soft as last week’s cheese cake, they couldn’t have been less proud of their lack of snarl as they headed off the ice Wednesday night.
Even worse, the Rangers played with little energy and no passion. The Penguins toyed with the Rangers and my recording of the game was erased within seconds of the final horn. Larry Brooks wrote an excellent article hoping that this rout wouldn’t be a precursor to what followed after last season’s rout to Montreal after the Rangers excellent start. That being a season where it was obvious to many that Hank’s stellar play carried the team and there were warning signs that the Rangers impressive record was nothing more than a house of cards built on terribly shaky ground.
What would the response be against a heavier hitting team than the Penguins, and perhaps bigger rival, the Filthy Flyers?
1) What a difference a day makes. Well, make that two days. The Rangers, from the start, played a gritty, physical, and largely clean hitting game, pounding the flyers whenever possible. Ranger’s D cleared Hank’s crease whenever the flyers got too close and the scrums after the whistle had a playoff feel to them. Thank you boys, Thank you.
2) Hank was a monster. Huge save after save after save. Easily, his best game of the season. There are many words that describe the King, but fierce competitor certainly ranks among them. His positioning was superb and he was almost psychic in reading the play in front of him. Stymying the Flyers several times by accurately reading pass or shot, He was fantastic. He was. Incredible net minding.
3) We also saw the first fight of the season. Brandon Pirri, hardly a heavyweight, was our first brawler of the season, a quarter of the way in, as a result of a hard hit he laid deep in the offensive zone. It would have been two minutes for Pirri but Travis Konecny did what no Ranger did last game and that was to come to a teammate’s aid. Konecny got 2, 5, and 10 for his act of loyalty.
4) 17 seconds in, the Rangers got a 4 minute PP after Dale Weise high sticked Nick Holden cutting his lip open. Holden went off for repairs and the Rangers did nothing with this golden opportunity. Maybe 2 SOG. They set up once and really had no scoring chances. Spending most of the time chasing the iced puck, the Flyer crowd was energized.
5) As mentioned, the Rangers were a much different team in Filthy. Hard hits, coming to each other’s aid, and playing as a team, all that went wrong Wednesday night was rectified against the Flyers. It was nice to see.
6) With a little under seven minutes in a scoreless first, after Hank flat out robbed a wide open Read on his doorstep with the save of the game, the Rangers headed the other way. JT Miller made a soft Gretzky like pass from behind Mason’s left to a wide open Stepan who buried it. Rangers lead 1-0. You could almost here JT yell to Step who snuck unchecked right out in front, took the pass and snapped it in for his 4th goal of the season. Miller, still the team points leader, is playing real good hockey. I’m so happy for him. He is getting it done offensively and his wall play reminds me of a young Don Maloney. Playing primarily with Hazy and Grabby, this line has been the Rangers best all season. I hope AV keeps them together once everyone is healthy.
7) That compliment on JT’s play comes with a caveat. Again, he was guilty of a bad cross ice pass in his own end that was intercepted at the Blue line, a horrible turnover, but Hank made a the save and the Rangers were not hurt on the scoreboard. He needs to be more mindful of that.
8) And not just JT either. Shay was guilty last game of the same thing and his turnover directly led to a Penguins goal. Better to chip the puck up the wall. Much safer play. Hard to find much fault this game with their play in their own end in the first two periods but this cross ice passes need to stop. Many are guilty of this – not just JT and Shay.
9) About 90 seconds after taking the lead, Matt Pumpernickel, playing his first game as a Ranger, took a lovely pass from VC as the Rangers broke in on a 2 on 2, they became a 2-1 once deeper in the zone as Pumpernickel showed some wheels. He took a rolling puck and snapped it under Mason’s right shoulder for a 2-0 lead. Jooris started the play with a nice block and VC was off and running. His pass was over the Flyer’s stick covering him, and it evaded the man covering Pumpernickel. VC is a kid with nice touch and soft hands. Good skilled player.
10) It was nice to see a Ranger playing in his first game get a goal for a change. It seems every opposition skater or goalie playing in THEIR first game against our boys, has amazing results. Wonderful for the tables to be turned. I really like rye, but pumpernickel is now a favorite as well.
11) The Rangers were outshot 11-7 in the first. However, the boys in blue (yes the Rangers wore blue in this game) (Editor’s note: this confused my son quite a bit, who only learned this week about home/away teams and their jersey coloring) continued their insanely high shooting percentage getting two goals on their seven shots.
12) I like seeing the home team in their white jerseys. I came of age when the Rangers wore their whites at MSG and I wish they’d go back to home whites and road blues. Others might feel differently and that’s ok. (Editor’s note: I think both teams should wear colors unless they are the same color, then the away team should wear white)
13) With two seconds left in the first, THE Kreider dropped the gloves and danced with Brandon Manning. Eddie O had mentioned several times that these two had more than just words on more than one occasion behind the play. As THE checked Manning in the boards and skated away, Manning must have said “let’s go” because THE turned and dropped them and it was on. Kreider is one strong mutha as he was close to ripping Manning’s head off his shoulders in an attempt to remove Manning’s helmet. THE threw an overhand right and several powerful right uppercuts and it was Down Goes Manning, Down Goes Manning. While not close to a TKO, Manning did drop like a bag of rocks after THE’s last uppercut.
14) It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that in this era of the shield, it’s the uppercut that is the go to punch. Otherwise it’s a cut, or worse broken, hand.
15) The second period was another intense battle. Up and down the ice both teams were playing some damn good hockey. Hank made several huge saves and there were hardly any rebounds as the Rangers did an outstanding job clearing the puck away to the corners or out of harm’s way.
16) With about seven and a half minutes left, Nick Holden received a present from Mark Streit who shot/passed it toward net and Hazy tipped it from far out in front of Mason, who had no chance, as it deflected above his left shoulder at about a 120 degree angle. Nice hands.
17) Many of us were extremely disappointed in Haze’s play last year. But that sophomore slump is now turning into a career junior year. (Editor’s note: Promising rookie year, sophomore slump, excellent junior year; sounds like Flyers’ healthy scratch Michael Del Zotto) He might just be the leagues most improved player and I’m sure glad he’s one of ours. He, JT, and Grabner are a dangerous trio.
18) The Flyers scored early in the third, ruining Hank’s shutout and worse, they were coming hard. (Editor’s note: E3 said coming hard) The Rangers began to settle back allowing the play to come to them and it was reminiscent of so many games last year when my brutha from anutha mutha Ricardo Carputha, called it punting on first down. Last year it burned them time and time again. This year the Rangers have had large leads often by 3 or more goals, so it hasn’t haunted them as much. Hank was brilliant down the stretch but the flyers scored with Mason pulled with a few ticks more than 2 minutes on the clock. And then it got crazy. The Flyers nearly tied it at least 5 times as the puck slid thru the crease, each time, from Hank’s right to left. Narrowly missing the post. The Flyers were pouring it on and the Rangers couldn’t get a clear or a change. Intense pressure. It ended with a mad scramble and pile up in Hank’s crease. Game over 3-2.
19) An outstanding team effort. The ship needed righting and it was – till the next time at least. Our boys played a hard chippy strong game taking no nonsense from the Flyers. I’m happy and I’m sure all of you are too.
20) It’s on to MSG and let’s win there Sunday night.
My three stars :
N. Holden (but many others could be named as it was a great team effort)