Not sure if you guys had noticed, but every single game the Rangers had played so far this preseason and regular season against NHL teams, they have been unable to score more (or less) than 2 goals. Every single game they scored 2. It was mind boggeling how that kept happening. Luckily today the Rangers managed to double that amount, which was good because they needed more than 2 to pick up the W. And pick up the W they did. In what was a truly spectacular performance by the Rangers second line, the Rangers played a superb Chicago team tit for tat all over the ice, with one glaring exception. Goaltending. Where Henrik was spectacular, Huet was horrendous. Where Henrik was kicking away rebounds into corners, Huet was kicking away rebounds to Wade Reddens stick. Where Henrik fought off shots, Huet fought in shots…ok, maybe that doesn’t make sense, but you get what I’m saying. The Rangers got superb goaltending today, and the Hawks didn’t. I never understood the signing of Huet for those guys. He is easily one of the 3 most overrated goalies in the league, right on par with Uncle Daddy, and Marc-Andre Fleury (and a hair above Tim Thomas).
This is not surprising though, the Rangers have smartly built a club from the net out, rather than the other way around which it seems the Hawks have done. The beauty here though is this is exactly the way the Rangers are going to be beating teams this season. Superior goaltending, superior puck movement, and superior “swarm” mentality. Are they world beaters? No. But man oh man, 3-0 is nothing to roll your eyes at. These guys have earned their early lead, and they deserve every second of it.
Positivity all around, on the second line, with the trio netting a total of 7 points (though I feel both Zherdev and Voros were due assists on Dubinskys goal, Zherdev made a gorgeous touch pass to Voros who battled a Hawk player to get to the puck, create a “draw” on the puck, allowing Dubinsky to swoop in and put it in the net top shelf). Each of them had a goal, and each of them had at least 1 assist on one of their linemates goals. That is a picture perfect night. As superb as the second line was, the first line was more or less invisible. For some reason the shots on goal appeared to be coming from the one place you don’t want them to come, Scotty Gomez. It seemed like he was the one taking the shots and the other guys were setting him up. Uhh, note to Naslund and Drury, you guys are the shooters, he is the passer, quit this nonsense immediately.
There is one glaring negative though, and it has been a glaring negative that I have been pretty quiet about so far. Nigel Dawes, a guy whom I certainly support, and whom I have cheered on, has easily played his way off this team. This preseason I was making bold predictions that Dawes would net 25+ goals this season…at this rate I wonder if he will have 25+ shots on goal. The miniscule one has not just been invisible, he hasn’t even been around the puck. He has served no purpose whatsoever out there. One can argue Prucha has done nothing to play himself off the starting lineup, and Dawes has done EVERYTHING possible to play himself off this lineup. The Rangers need to sit Nigel down, make sure he understands he needs to earn his ice time. Play Fritsche, let’s see what he can do out there.
See you guys tomorrow against the Flyers. Those of you attending the game, give an extra loud BOO! for the guilty Sarah Palin.