It seemed to me, when watching Nikolai Zherdevs game tying snipe shot that in the time between Zherdev looking up, and releasing his shot, the game must have slowed down to Matrix like proportions. It seemed like when Zherdev got the puck on his stick, he had time to pick out every single possible shooting angle, he had time to measure the ambient wind speed, to calculate air drag on his shot, and put the precise amount of mustard on the shot to beat Fleury cleanly. Or, he just ripped a perfect shot top shelf. Whatever, it was freaking beautiful.
Zherdev helped the Rangers pick up 2 very important points by putting that one home. It was a game the Rangers deserved to win much more than the Penguins, but the Penguins still managed to pick up a point, and almost 2. The Rangers pretty much out played the Pens from the time the puck dropped. Sure, the Pens had a few spurts of dominance, but all in all it seemed the Rangers were generating more chances than the Pens were, and that Fleury, and some bad luck, was the only reason the Rangers were trailing in this one.
Both goals given up by Henrik were fluke jobs. First a puck redirects off of 2 Rangers players perfectly into the net, almost like it was a scene from Angels in the outfield or something, and then a puck that was about to be cleared out of the zone took a wicked strange bounce off the boards right to the stick of a Penguins player, and that led to Crosbys put back goal. The Rangers also had a goal taken away when the ref blew the whistle far too early when Scotty Gomez put home a loose puck early in the 5 on 3, only to have it called back.
Both of the Rangers goals were what you would call legit goals, one coming on the power play….finally, where Naslund took a perfect pass from Gomez to beat Fleury 5-hole, and the other coming on the previously mentioned super snipe job. The game winner in the shootout though appeared to be a flubbed backhand that somehow found it’s way into the back of the net seeing-eye style, but still very much legit.
The Rangers can also point squarely at the man between the pipes as the main reason we picked up 2 points here tonight. To call Henrik brilliant is to do him no justice whatsoever, particularly in the overtime where he made 3 miraculous saves within 2 minutes, robbing Fedatenko on the doorstep, robbing Crosby on the doorstep, and snatching a point shot that redirected up into the glove side corner right before it crossed the line. Henrik Lundqvist was definitely the #1 star in this game, despite Zherdevs heroics, and was rewarded as such after the game.
Petr Prucha also continues to play superb hockey despite not being able to put anything home. He helped draw the power play that led to the Rangers first goal, and he was all over the ice causing havoc by aggressively forechecking. In my personal opinion, Dawes, Fritsche, and Rissmiller should be the ones sitting out, while Korpikoski and Prucha need to be the ones playing.
Despite the win though, I still am not happy with the lines. I stand by my assertion that Gomez needs to play with Drury and Naslund full time to work out their kinks, while Zherdev, Voros and Dubinsky need to be reunited.
Regardless, the Rangers are now 8-2-1, banking important points early in the season, which will help to offset the inevitable week or 2 of putrid play that will come in the middle of the season. This is why a fast start is so important, then you aren’t playing catch up later on in the season, you are simply getting back on track.
I will miss Monday’s game in the Mausoleum because I myself have a game….also in a mausoleum like rink. Regardless, I will watch it as soon as I get back home. See you then!