Welcome everyone to another Ranger Recap, here on DOINow.com. As always, make sure to check out the right hand part of the site for the ARCHIVES section, for game recaps & thoughts, as well as opinion pieces on such topics as Frank Boucher, Yankees/Giants/Rangers vs Mets/Jets/Islanders, Strahan vs Barber, A-Roid & more. I’m always going to assume you’ve read previous writings here, on the new DOINOW.com and not going to rehash & explain points I’ve discussed previously.
The Rangers, as a complete team, are playing their best hockey during these last four games, which has produced their longest win streak of the season at 4. Some fans are ecstatic about this fact. It’s good news. It also means that they haven’t played this well until now, with 33% of the season already complete.
The Rangers beat the Pittsburgh Penguins, during their last game at home before this recent Western Canada trip, winning in OT, 4-3. It was another sad game for Henrik Lundqvist, where he choked a two goal lead, to force OT. The Rangers started their road trip beating those mothercanuckers in Vancouver, 5-1. The next night, the Rangers beat the Oilers 2-0, in a brutally boring affair. Last night, the Rangers finished the trip, winning 5-2 over the Flames. This would be a historic win, as this marked the first time in the history of the New York Rangers, that they swept a Western Canada road trip. If there is one thing to be said, the Rangers are getting much more goal production than in recent seasons.
Rick Nash, second in the league in Goals, continued his best season, individually, as a Ranger, with a two goal game. He perhaps was on his way to a hat trick, but Carl Hagelin, once again, struck an empty netter to seal the game for good. Nash is seemingly unbeatable on the breakaway this season and has scored a flurry of breakaway goals during the last few Ranger victories. It’s amazing how great he’s been this season, as this is the first season he’s been truly 100% healthy. All a Ranger fan can hope for, is that this style of play continues come playoff time.
Chris Kreider also got on the board, ending a long goal-less drought, with a fluky type of goal with only 7 seconds left in the first period. Sometimes all you need is to have the announcer call out your name after a goal. He started off the second period hot, with several one-on-one chances, but was denied. For someone who meant so much to this team last season, you really want to see him get going. Hopefully his play last night will translate into something better as the Rangers move along the schedule.
Tanner Glass & Lance Bouma of the Flames, got into a fight during the second period. It looked like Bouma took a dive and went straight down. Perhaps he didn’t want to catch the mumps? It looked like he wanted nothing to do with Glass at all. I don’t think he was scared of Glass, as much as he was scared of having his face blow up to the point where he looked like Quagmire from “Family Guy”.
King Contract owes Kevin Klein a nice fat steak dinner from Peter Luger’s when the Rangers return home from their road trip. It wouldn’t be a Rangers blog from yours truly, without me pointing out that Hank looked shaky once again in net. Before Hagelin’s empty net goal, the score was 4-1. Hank got bailed out by his best friend the post twice, which means he was beat twice. Then, Klein, not once, but TWICE, took a puck that beat Henry and cleared it out from the goal line, before the puck could pass it. He’s done this several times this season. In addition to his scoring, Klein should get some Norris talk, but probably won’t. He’s been crucial in the Rangers success this season. Hank then looked like a toddler who shit himself in pre-K, and quickly allowed another goal with a minute left to play. It’s like he can’t control himself.
I’ve discussed how unworthy Hank is of his disgustingly high contract this season, on this site, and with Ranger fans all year. One of my friends Garrett Gorton said after the Pittsburgh game, that this trip, Hank would turn it around. I would argue that point, although the Rangers are keeping pace in the standings with these 8 consecutive points.
First off, read the Hank articles in the archives. The skinny is that he’s blown 8 games for 13 points and is in the bottom half of the league in GAA & SVPCTG. 33% of the season is over. The Rangers, will have to scrape, kick and claw to get a upper echelon playoff seed. However, the money to Hank has been paid in full for those games. Will he refund his money to the Ranger fans who seen him give up 4,5,6 goals at home consistently? I have a better chance of seeing the Knicks win a game.
Now you might wonder how could I complain about a 4 game win streak. I’m not. I’m just putting into perspective. Some fans want to act like that this win streak means a Stanley Cup. Just look how the Rangers won these four games. 4 goals against Pittsburgh, after Hank choked a two goal lead. 5 goals in Vancouver, relieving Hank of any real pressure early on, as it was 3-0 before the game was 5 minutes old. A 2-0 win against the worst team in the league, where the Oilers only put up 16 shots and their coach Dallas Eakins was fired right after the game. Last night, the game was 4-0 at one point, and Hank wasn’t only saved twice by the post, he was saved twice by Klein as well. So before you start putting your chest out and chanting “HEN-RY!”, take into account that it has been the skaters on the ice that have been winning these games with massive goal scoring and superb defensive plays. Kevin Klein deserves a chant quicker than I would give Henry one, at this point in the season.
On a side note, since I watched the game live and not on DVR, I was looking for pictures of Klein bailing out Henry. There was not one picture on any official or unofficial Ranger fan site. The Rangers official site has pictures of Henry making saves, but conveniently left out pictures of Klein saving two goals. A little questionable if you ask me!
I need to see Hank consistently put up 1-0, 2-1, 3-2 victories where he’s making 30+ saves. He hasn’t done that really this year. Fans will say he has 5 shutouts, but forget they count shoot-out losses (which Hank has four of) as shut-outs too. Imagine what Brodeur or Roy’s stats would be if an overtime loss still counted as a shutout? Cam Talbot has two real shut-outs and has the best game a Rangers goalie has played all season, in his win over Philadelphia, where he made 30+ saves to do so. He also had to deal against a 6 vs 4 advantage for the last 3:55 of a game.
It was funny hearing on “Joe & Evan” on WFAN 660 yesterday, how they were discussing that Cam Talbot’s stellar play has lit a fire under Henry’s ass and he’s feeling the pressure. That’s all a Ranger fan could want. Of course, the Billy Beane “Moneyball” in me, think that the Rangers are better off as a whole without Hank’s contract, as Cam gives you the same production, but Talbot starting for the Rangers, sans a Hank injury, just isn’t going to happen. Not with that disgusting contract. If Talbot continues to play well, the heat is on Henry to stop being a Swedish Slug that allows 4 goals on the regular at home.
Up next for the Rangers is a home-home with the last place Carolina Hurricanes. It is imperative the Rangers make this a 6 game win streak before dealing with a playoff contender in the Washington Capitals and tri-state rivals, the NJ Devils during Christmas week. The Rangers, like they did in Edmonton, have to stop playing to the level of their competition. The Rangers should show the ‘Canes why they are a playoff team and handle business. Hank has already cost the Rangers 13 points this season and the Rangers can’t afford anymore, with the way the Penguins and Islanders have been playing. Sure, in the NHL, it’s about how you finish and not how you start, but there is no excuse for this team to be sweating out a spot come April. Nothing but a sweep against the Canes should be acceptable to any fan.
LET’S GO RANGERS
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