Rangers Rumors & News
This entry was posted on Monday, November 24th, 2008 at 11:59 pm and is filed under Hockey, Rangers Rumors & News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Now that’s more like it. The Rangers put the last couple of disasters behind them, and whipped the Winnipeg Jets, er Phoenix Coyotes, 4-1. Scott Gomez was back on the ice. Henrik Lundqvist was back in the net. And the Blueshirts were back to actually trying to win.

The Brandon Dubinsky/Nikolai Zherdev/Markus Naslund line had it going on in this one. Zherdev had three assists, and his world-class talent was on display all game long. With Wayne Gretzky looking on from behind the Coyotes’ bench, Zherdev played like the Great One tonight. If only he could do this every night. He was stickhandling and zipping passes all over the ice. Dubinsky recorded a Gordie Howe Hat Trick (not to be confused with a Michal Rozsival Hat Trick: giving up a shorthanded goal on a turnover, committing a stupid penalty leading to a power play goal and having your pants fall down at center ice). The center scored the go-ahead goal in the second period, which was his first in 14 games. Remember back in the old days when he and Aaron Voros were scoring all those goals and having great games? Man, that was a long time ago. Dubinsky showed some guts taking on Daniel Carcillo, who led the NHL in penalty minutes last season. He lost, but he didn’t back down. Naslund added an assist, as that line seemed to click. Let’s see how long it lasts before Tom Renney breaks it up.

With Gomez back in the lineup, Renney mixed up his top three lines. Gomez centered Chris Drury and Ryan Callahan, and he didn’t miss a beat after sitting out the last five games. He was flying all night, and the team seemed to follow his lead. Watching him skate makes me wish I had a broken ankle. He was winning face-offs and shooting from everywhere, and capped off the night with an empty-net goal. On his right side was Callahan, who hits everybody in sight (and often is the only Ranger who hits anybody at all). The Rozsival-Dmitri Kalinin marriage finally ended (at least for now). They just can’t be trusted together. Rozsy was paired with Marc Staal, and Kalinin skated with Paul Mara. Dan Girardi and Wade Redden stayed together, and Girardi whistled a slap shot into the back of the net for a power play goal.

The first half of the first period was here-we-go-again time. It was another slow start for the Rangers, and they fell behind 1-0, as always. But a rested Lundqvist was back, and he was the King again (35 saves for the game, league-leading 13th win). He saved the Rangers in the first 10 minutes, and then Blair Betts tied the game (yes, Blair Betts) and it was all Blueshirts for the last two-and-a-half periods. They skated hard, fought for the puck and consistently drove to the net. They only committed one minor penalty, and converted on a whopping 50% of their power plays (ok, they were one for two).

Phoenix is young and inexperienced and a team the Rangers should beat. But it doesn’t always work like that. You actually have to put in the effort. This is another one of those games where you say, “Why can’t they play like that all the time?” Let’s see if they can keep it up. Next game: Thanksgiving eve in Tampa Bay at 7:30.

Bag-O’-Knuckles-O-Meter

Colton Orr: 4

Aaron Voros: 4

Brandon Dubinsky: 3

Paul Mara: 3

Ryan Callahan: 1

Marc Staal: 1

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