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I’m not talking about the first goal, or the third goal, or even the fourth goal that Kevin Weekes gave up in the Rangers dominating 2nd period performance just a few hours ago. I am talking about the second goal he gave up. It was a softie, plain and simple. It was one he should have had, but didn’t. When was the last time the Rangers could honestly say they got themselves a break like that? It’s been a long, long time for sure. It seems like night in and night out, our forwards are squeezing their sticks harder and harder because they seem to never get the lucky goals that make a team feel a lot more confident about themselves. You could definitely see the collective monkeys fall of their shoulders after that one went in. Before Chris Drury scored that goal, I thought for sure this one was going to end up in a loss. I didn’t think we played particularly well in the game up till that point, and I felt the Devils superior forecheck was going to wear us out, and waste yet another superb performance by the man between the pipes. Luckily we got that break, and that opened the proverbial flood gates.

Let’s temper all this by recognizing that this was a seriously depleted New Jersey team, with Kevin “deer in headlights” Weekes between the pipes. This was a team we should have beaten. Just like the Leafs, just like the Islanders, and just like the Oilers. We did what we had to do, despite once again not playing a complete 60 minute game. But I do take some hope out of watching what we saw. This wasn’t a case of the Rangers getting lucky all over the place, this was a case of the Rangers out and out dominating another team for 40 consecutive minutes. They made the Devils look like an AHL club rather than the juggernaut they have been for the past 15 years. This is a good thing for this club. Temper your enthusiasm for sure, but don’t forget that this is a club that wins on it’s system, not on it’s personnel.

Also for the first time all year I can say that Dan Fritsche looked like an NHLer out there. He really stood out as one of the best Rangers on the ice, which was huge for the 3rd line of Fritsche Dawes and Korpedo. The line accounted for 5 points, which is huge. They also looked like a legitimate 3rd line you could live with. Once Gomez comes back, shift the lines to something like…

Naslund – Gomez – Drury
Voros – Dubinsky – Zherdev
Fritsche – Korpikoski – Callahan
Sjostrom – Betts – Orr

And I think you have a winner. The lineup just makes a lot more sense this way than anything else. The NYRangersCast guys have been saying it almost as long as I have. We need to give that lineup (or something very similar, maybe Fritsche out for Dawes or Prucha) a shot on a consistent basis.

I still was not happy with the power play. We scored 2 goals, but they were on the 5on3 man advantage, those are situations you should score on. The regular 5on4 man advantage looked hapless once again. What I did like though was seeing Paul Mara out there more, he looks a lot better on the PP than either Rozsival or Redden to be honest.

This was a nice win, but I’m not getting too happy here. Let’s see how we play on Saturday shall we?


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