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You guys know I’m probably the first person to say “give the points back” when the Rangers play a game where they didn’t deserve to win, however tonight I won’t be saying that. We did deserve to win tonight, but I still wasn’t very happy with the quality of play from the Rangers, particularly in the first 2 periods.

In the first 2 periods, the Penguins had at least 3 point blank chances in which Henrik made superb saves (Crosby at the door step, Malkin on a breakaway, and someone else he got with a pokecheck). On top of that the Pens hit 3, possibly 4 goal posts (albeit we hit 2 ourselves). So the score probably should have been a 1 goal game either way, probably favoring the Pens after 2. However the Rangers clearly dominated play in the 3rd, shutting the door defensively, and not making Henrik have to make any insane saves. They also scored 2 goals, one off of a pretty pass by Petr “How the hell was I benched for most of this season?!” Prucha, and the other on an empty netter by Gomez. That 3rd period is what tipped the scales from the “give the points back” state of mind I was in going into the 3rd, to the “Eh” state of mind I was in after the 3rd.

Look, don’t get me wrong, I will take the points, and at this juncture a win, is a win, is a win, but there are MILES to go before I come even close to thinking this team has turned the corner (as the NYRangerscast guys love to jinx).

Two other things on this game that really stood out. The first being just how important specialty teams really are. The Rangers got 2 power play goals, and technically 1 short handed goal. For 95% of the NHL teams out there specialty teams is a difference maker, for the New York Rangers, specialty teams is how we win or lose. It’s as simple as that. When you play Tom Renneys bull shit dog leash style of hockey where you get ZERO chances in terms of offense during even strength play, you absolutely must score on the power play, and on the penalty kill in order to stand a chance. If the Rangers are lucky, they will score 1, maybe 2 goals in a game at even strength (and I can’t stress lucky enough), in order to win games in which Henrik isn’t perfect, they need a PPG or 2 to get those wins. They haven’t done it the entire season, but tonight proves they have the guns to get it done.

The final thing I want to discuss are statistics. I generally live and die by stats. I look at numbers with regards to points, standings, power play percentages, and other stats on a daily basis. I look at numbers, and I try to see patterns. Stats are the holy grail of sports to me. You can learn so much about expectations, projections, etc from stats. With all of that said, the stats from tonights game are DEAD WRONG. Scott Gomez got something like 1 goal, and 2 assists tonight. But aside from his faceoff prowess, and an empty netter any of us could have scored, Gomez was an absolute train wreck. He had so many bone headed plays tonight that I literally jumped out of my chair and started cursing at the top of my lungs at the TV when he made yet another turnover. The guy just isn’t doing ANYTHING worth writing home about, especially tonight. He turned the puck over, he passed into guys skates, he trapped his teammates for odd man rushes against, he killed rushes with terrible decision making. In short, he was absolute dog shit. Don’t believe the stats tonight, Scott Gomez deserved to be booed off the ice with his performance.

Ok, I lied, I did have 1 more thing I wanted to mention, and I’ll keep this one short. Aaron Voros is not an NHL player. I’m wondering if he is even an AHL player. How on Earth this schlub is in over Lauri Korpikoski I will never know. Maybe if Lauri was a Ranger fan when growing up he would still be in the lineup…..because of that’s not it, I just don’t get it.

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