In Charles Dickens’ “A Tale of Two Cities, he does clever job paralleling the personal and the political. And one of the novel’s most important motifs is the figure of the double as Dickens uses doubling technique to draw comparisons AND contrasts. He also uses the literary tool of foreshadowing quite well. I had a literature professor once tell me to read this novel aloud to appreciate his genius. Well, this was a tale of two games, and the first period did not foreshadow what was to happen in the third period. Now for the review.
1. The first period was a horror story. The Rangers seemed to be two men short for the entire 20 minutes. Outshot, out hustled, out played, out skated, out hit, and out skilled, it was easy to see how CBJ reeled off 16 wins in a row. The Rangers had no time, no space, and no chance. The Blue Jackets were like white on rice, or brown on rice, depending on your tastes, whereas the Jackets had infinite time and tremendous amounts of space.
2. Once again the opposition scored inside the first two minutes. Now, we all know that AV likes his leadership group to ready the team before a game but enough is enough. Something needs to change as these guys just are not ready to play the first period from the moment of the first puck drop until the horn sounds ending the period.
3. Bad passes, sloppy playing, failures to clear, awful turnovers, passionless hockey, and it ended down 3-1 for the boys in white. The first CBJ goal was a wrister near the blue line with a partial screen in front. Hank needs to make that save and a Ranger defenseman needs to clear that body parked in front. The second goal was a PP goal after McD cross checked Foligno who looked as if he was shot by one of the cannon balls Columbus blows off after a goal is scored. Within 20 seconds or so, the cannon ball did go off and it was 2-0 Jackets as the Rangers were chasing the puck and it looked like all 4 PKers were to the left of Hank leaving a whole bunch of CBJers wide open and it was wham bam thank you ‘mam into a wide open net. Hank had no chance.
4. The first 13 minutes was total submission by the Rangers and total domination by the Jackets. It seemed like I was watching a replay of the Sabres game. Two terrible games against the Pens and Wild. Three good games followed against NJ, Ari, and Col. Then a crap show against Buffalo and a great game vs Filthy (Sorry Monk). This looked to follow form as the bad game in a series of games that could easily proved to be a converging sequence.
5. The deficit was halved as the Spirit of St. Louis, aka The Machine, formerly named Oscar Meyer Lindberg, a man that does not discriminate as to what minor penalty he is charged with during any game, blistered a beauty high glove side, far side. Hope springs eternal (in this weather? Say what?)
6. The deficit was then doubled as Ein Klein gave up the puck like a wimpy 6th grader giving up his lunch money after being confronted by the middle school bully. Very weak play by #8. It led within seconds, to a 3-1 lead as Scott Hartnell, easily one of the biggest turds in the league, baseball batted a knee high change up passed to him from behind the net. No one touched Hartnell before, during, or after the goal.
7. The period ended 3-1 with the boys in white holding the one. The Rangers were on their heels the entire period as the play was in their end for nearly all 20 minutes. Rangers registered 7 SOG to CBJ’s 15, but none of the 7 were anything close to actual scoring chances. Shame, too, as Hugh McElheney, a long ago, SF 49’er, was in net giving BoB the night off. When you’re facing a clear second string goalie you’d expect, at least hope, that your team would come out of the gate hard charging. But alas, it wasn’t meant to be.
8. CBJ employed a popular tactic against the NYR. A heavy forecheck pinning our D deep in their end with no ability to move the puck out cleanly. This needs some serious correcting. As was the case against Buffalo, the Rangers simply couldn’t connect two passes together to save themselves. And each time the resulting turnover ratcheted the pressure leading to more good scoring chsnces for CBJ.
9. Yet another turnover led to a breakaway by Lukas Sedlak as he beat Henk 5 hole. 4-1 CBJ led with 17 minutes left in the second period. The Rangers playing better and as strange as it seemed, they were not out of this game as 72 later Grabner was shot out of a cannon screaming down the left wing on a clean break wristing the puck top shelf stick side.
10. Looked like a set play off a face off win by Haze to the left of Hank. Grabner swooped into the circle, banked the puck off the near boards to himself and he was off like a rocket. Amazing wheels. And he wasn’t done yet.
11. Steve Weeks after the game said that Grabner came to camp in better shape than anyone else on the Ranger team. This explains, perhaps, his explosive start where he seemed to have 2 or 3 breakaways every game. Speed is one thing but unlike Hags, Grabner has a set of hands and has proven to be a great finisher.
12. The score was 4-2 and I turned to my wife and said that as bad as they were in the first, they were not out of this game. She asked what quarter they were in and I told her the bottom of the fifth inning (I kid of course). Seriously, the Rangers were competing and CBJ looked a little confused. The second period ended 4-2 in favor of the home team.
13. All the Rangers needed was a goal to close within one and we’d have ourselves a game. What I’d like to know is why the Rangers, who came out in third firing on 19 cylinders, began the game fizzling on zero cylinders. Is it that AV and the leadership group were motivational wonder kids to start the third? Or is it that AV and the leadership group were unable to ready their team to start the first? You decide!
14. All I know is that the Rangers dominated the third as much as CBJ owned the first. Wave after wave of white jerseys were putting intense pressure on the Jackets. And then it happened, Adam the Gerund showed that he wants to be a noun and scored, during a PP, on a nice shot after a good move. He kept his shot low and the crease was crowded and the puck found its way to the back of the net. It was now 4-3 and our boys weren’t finished. THE then came bustling down on the left wing on a breakaway and tucked the puck 5-hole. It squirted thru McE’s legs and rested against the inside of far post where it lay seemingly for ever until cleared by the Jacket D. After his shot, THE was hauled down. No call. Moments before Ribbit’s penalty in the first, Zuuc was interfered and tripped, no call. Mattered not as the Ranger PP was pretty futile until Gerund’s first goal which made it 4-3.
15. The Rangers kept up the pressure and you could feel a major shift in momentum. Ironic given CBJ won the Nov/Dec cup and were one game off a 16-0 run. But clearly the Rangers were coming and coming hard and the Jackets didn’t have a repose. Torts might have been smart to call a timeout and steady his team.
16. I said on the blog about this point I’d be happy with a point and with just over 7 minutes remain The Gerund threw a bad angled shot toward the net from the far circle and it went in. His first two goals of the season were scored back to back in the third 11 minutes apart.
17. Adam Clendening, The Gerund (from Norm), should be playing more than he has. Is he stellar in his own end? Maybe not. But he should spell Girardi, who’s played better at times this year but no where near where he was 4 years ago, once Staal recovers. In facr, Gerund should spell Girardi then Staal then Girardi then Staal as often as need be. Number 4 plays with Snarl. He gave Hartnell an earful at one point near the end of the second and he had words for several flyers including Schenn at the end of last game too. I like his game. It’s certainly not as bad as Girardi, Staal, Shay, and Ein Klein have been collectively this season.
18. You have to appreciate the job John Davidson and Torts have done this year. The Jackets remind me of the 2011-12 Ranger team only with more speed and much more skill. I do think they’re a good team and we will see how well their second half is but I expect it to be no where as good as their first half.
19. Around now, with the score tied at 4, I posted, as Admiral Akbar will attest, that the Rangers would win 5-4 with Fast scoring the GWG. I wasn’t too far off. I really do see dead people.
20. The Rangers kept on the attack and continued the assault on the CBJ goal but it looked like we were going to OT. Then, with about 20 seconds left, off a faceoff in their own end, Lightning Fast Grabner once again shot out of s cannon came in and went back hand over the glove hand and it was 5-4.
21. CBJ now on a two game losing streak giving up 5 goals each game. Rangers on a 2 game winning streak and have won 5 of 6. Great way to end things going into the bizzare 5 day break.
22. Some takeaways. Wicky is absolutely correct. This team needs to add some grit and physicality or they won’t make as deep a run as we’d like. It’s true Nash, Zman, and Buch will be back soon but I wish we could swap Zucc and Pirri for Lucic and somehow get a guy like E. Kane, character be damed.
23. Jaspar Fast has shown he can deflect shots from the point. He’s also shown no skill whatsoever on a 2 on 1, or any other skill in the O zone. He’s just awful. AV knows more about hockey in the gum he spits out than I ever will so there’s something about Fast’s game that he likes, but it sure isn’t his offensive skills.
24. That was a great win. Coming back from being down 4-1 against any team is noteworthy and to do it against the team with the best record in the league is even more impressive.
25. And it’s on to MSG next Friday against Toronto and let’s win there.
My Three Ranger Stars:
1. Grabner; 2. Gerund; 3. Hank
lets go GMEN. Make my weekend extra sweet!!!